Let’s be clear, glasses are very cool. Characters who wear glasses are therefore cool.
It’s a solid argument and there’s absolutely no self-serving purpose behind that statement.
In seriousness though, here is a list of my favourite female anime characters who wear glasses (updated as of November 2021).
Top 5 Female Characters Who Wear Glasses
Honourable mentions to Chizuru Honshu (Bleach), Margery Daw (Shakugan no Shana) and Ririchiyo Shirakin (Inu X Boku).
Number 5: Okuda from Assassination Classroom
I love Okuda. While she is only a minor character in Assassination Classroom she is definitely an entertaining one and her unique approach to trying to assassinate her teacher by asking him to drink poison is pretty entertaining. Plus, if Okuda ever does get together with Karma those two would be lethal.
And look how this glasses wearing character managed to keep her glasses on in the face of an explosion. Well done.
Number 4: Kirihara Misaki from Darker than Black
Misaki is probably one of my favourite female characters with her down to earth nature, love of junk food, and general desire to actually find the truth and protect people rather than accept hearsay and rumours. She’s also good at her job and just a nice person while still being cool, calm and logical.
Her glasses are very much a part of who she is and when she takes them off (during a party) we really see just how disconnected she becomes (mostly because she can’t see). All and all, Misaki is definitely a character who wears her glasses with style in Darker Than Black.
Number 3: Mizuki Shibata from The Irregular at Magic High School
While her glasses serve a practical purpose, you have to admit Mizuki looks pretty adorable with her glasses on. While she’s not as talented as many of her friends (then again, who is) Mizuki certainly pulls her weight in the series. I’d have loved for her character to have had more screen time, but from a cast of mostly generic characters, Mizuki managed to stand her ground. She may not be as direct and forthright as some of the others on the list but she’s hanging in there throughout every conflict in the series.
Number 2: Mirai Kuriyama from Beyond the Boundary
The main character of this anime has a glasses fetish so who better to try and kill him than a bespectacled beauty. Okay, it might have worked better if she wasn’t terrified of her own power and hadn’t actually fallen in love with him, but you have to admit, she does look great in glasses. This show talks a lot about her glasses and she spends a lot of time cleaning them (which makes you wonder whether she actually needs them at all given how often she takes them off).
Mirai is a great character in Beyond the Boundary. She’s amusing and sulky and traumatized by her past, but she’s also really just wanting to reconnect and find her place in the world. While the plot may not have resolved beautifully, Mirai’s character is fantastic and she completely deserves the number 1 spot on this list but I just couldn’t put her ahead of the next character.
Number 1: Nagato Yuki from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
When I started this list there was almost no doubt that Nagato would end up as number 1. Even though her glasses wearing days are limited to a few episodes before she forgets to recreate them after a fight and Kyon tells her she looks good without them, Nagato Yuki is the definitive glasses wearing female.
So, who would you include on your list?
Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime. Join the discussion in the comments. Karandi James
Here we are with the very first top 5 list I ever wrote. Naturally I chose a topic near and dear to my heart and that is counting down my favourite crimson coloured heroines from anime. Whether they fight with their minds, their emotions, swords or a massive sniper rifle, these girls are tough and are going to absolutely deliver on entertainment. Here are my very top 5 red-heads.
Please Note – There are spoilers below. You have been warned.
Who didn’t make my list of top 5 red-heads?
Honourable mentions to Yona from Yona Akatsuki and Felicita from Arcana Famiglia. Both amazing red-headed characters but unfortunately did not make the final cut.
Number 5: Madam Red from Black Butler
Why is Madam Red on my list? Because she is a female doctor in the 1800’s. She’s amazing at social gatherings and still a doting aunt to Ciel (who may just be one of the most obnoxious nephews in history). And then there’s the whole serial killer thing. Admittedly, that is where her character kind of comes undone (in more ways than one) but Madam Red’s story – while short- has a massive impact when watching Black Butler.
And no, I didn’t choose Yoko for her fashion sense, though I’m sure many of the males in the audience appreciated her many fine physical attributes. Yoko’s on the list because she is an incredibly dynamic character. She is fiery as her red hair suggests, but she’s also incredibly sensitive and gradually becomes the voice of reason in amongst a very male dominated and highly unreasonable crowd. That said, she’s still in the fights with the best of them.
Number 3: Erika Chiba from The Irregular at Magic High School
Another fiery red head on the list, but Erika manages to keep it mostly in check. For a school heavy on magic, Erika definitely relied on her physical prowess as much as her magical capabilities. She’s hanging out with Tatsuya and that means she’s kind of thrown into dangerous situations at every turn, but Erika does not mind. In fact, that’s probably part of the appeal for her. If I could change anything about The Irregular at Magic High School, I would so increase Erika’s screen time.
Number 2: Erza Scarlet from Fairy Tail
This one shouldn’t need much explanation. She’s tough enough to terrify even Natsu and Grey into acting like friends. She has a cute side. She travels with enough weapons and armour to equip an entire army. Everything about Erza is awesome. In a guild filled with extraordinary people, Erza stands out and takes control when the occasion calls for it but is fiercely loyal to those she considers friends. And just because Natsu has saved her once or twice doesn’t mean she’s going to go easy on him in a fight. If he wants to beat her he is definitely going to have to work for it. Erza kind of defines what is mean by fiery red head.
So after so many combatant entries, number one may come as a surprise.
Number 1: Shirayuki from Shirayuki no Akagami
Let me explain. Shirayuki embodies the same qualities of the other characters on this list. She is forthright, upstanding, fights for justice, loyal to her friends, and packs some amazing emotional punch for one character. Unlike the above characters, her strength doesn’t come from a weapon or physical abilities (though she certainly won’t just sit in her prison cell and wait to be rescued and she isn’t above diving out a window if she deems it necessary).
She’s just a strong character who does anything she can within her means. And when she finds something is beyond her, she doesn’t give up, she finds a path that will bring her closer to where she wants to be. Shirayuki is a character you just can’t help but watch and hope that she succeeds and that is why she is my number one red-haired female character.
Is your favourite red-headed character on the list or have I missed someone amazing. Feel free to tell us below.
Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime. Join the discussion in the comments. Karandi James
“Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Magic is one of those things that most of us take for granted in stories. Given our earliest bedtime stories contain tales of princesses kissing frogs and fairy godmothers who wave their wands and fix all problems it makes sense that we are trained to accept a certain amount of whimsy in our narratives. Those of us who veer into the fantasy and speculative genres further learn to suspend disbelief and embrace all manner of magical systems.
We’ll happily nod along as Ed explains the fundamental rules of alchemy to a layman (Fullmetal Alchemist) and are more or less willing to believe that there are cute little beings from other worlds who can grant wishes turning ordinary girls into magical ones and ultimately creating witches and disasters (Madoka Magica).
However there’s a genuine difference between suspending disbelief and suspending basic reasoning and common sense. Most viewers expect at least internal consistency or a reasonable explanation for how things play out within a story (some don’t but that’s fine). For me, nothing can more quickly undermine a story than the characters coming across a seemingly insurmountable obstacle and then one of the characters simply making it go away with some as yet unseen power or ability and no real consequence for them breaking pre-established rules. Maybe I’m just nit-picky. Okay, I know I’m nit-picky but I really do like things to at least make contextual sense even if outside of the narrative they make little sense.
While there are plenty of anime that I could look at that have at times been guilty of undermining their own narratives through the less than strategic use of a magical deus ex machina I’m going to focus on three examples and then turn the discussion over to you, my readers, for your own examples and opinions on whether it matters that the fictional magic make sense in an anime. Heads up though: spoilers below.
Sailor Moon S: The Movie has a number of issues outside of its use of power within the sailor moon universe. Basically it is an extended Sailor Moon episode with a villain of the week showing up aiming to freeze the planet and the only real character development comes from Luna’s sudden desire to be human for a day to make a human’s wish come true. However, as a Sailor Moon story it works as it brings all the usual Sailor antics into play including all the other scouts and Tuxedo Mask getting side-lined for the finale so that Usagi can save the day.
So far, so ordinary. The scouts transform and make magical fire, lightning and a range of other attacks appear out of nothing all the time. Plus they manage to avoid freezing to death while wearing leotards in a snow storm. Surely that kind of lets them do what they like in terms of magic within the story.
Except, it was well established pretty early on in Sailor Moon after Usagi first took possession of the silver crystal that using it came at a pretty big cost. Something that powerful would more or less make any kind of villain pointless so they needed to limit it in someway. Even within Sailor Moon S: The Movie, the other characters caution Sailor Moon not to use the crystal or she’ll die. The world is getting frozen, the scouts are out for the count, and they are still pleading with Usagi not to do it.
And then she does. Crystal comes out, lots of flashing light, and problem solved. As an added bonus, she wishes for Luna’s wish to come true, and ta-da. Zero consequences faced or explanation as to why she can suddenly just use the crystal to do whatever the narrative needs.
Realistically, this didn’t just make the end of this particular movie seem weak, it actually made most of the events in the Sailor Moon universe seem a little trite. If Usagi can actually wield the crystal without consequence, and make it do more or less whatever she needs it to do, why do the scouts even need to exist? For that matter, why do any villains ever get to attack Earth? Surely Usagi could just create a barrier around the planet and then go and get a milkshake.
This is a case where even a pre-existing magical McGuffin was poorly written within a story and the results were definitely less than satisfying even to a moon maniac like myself. This movie remains one of my least favourite entries into the Sailor Moon franchise.
The Irregular at Magic High School has a really interesting take on magic. Rather than characters using spells and chants, they’ve combined magic and science and casters generally use a CAD (casting assistance device) to pretty much instantly produce magic. Essentially the magician provides the magic while the CAD contains the sequence and ensures the correct magical effect is actually produced.
However a CAD can only hold so many sequences and specialised CAD that produce very cool effects are even more limited in the number of sequences they can produce. Not to mention the devices are pretty costly and require fairly regular maintenance.
There’s been a lot of thought put into the system and it establishes why certain characters focus on particular kinds of magic and why casting speed is of great importance to the magicians. It also allows for new magical developments and through engineering and reprograming, tweaks to be made to existing magical effects.
All of that would be fine except that Tatsuya, the central character and the irregular, kind of does whatever he needs to do however he needs to do it. While it is established that he does things his own way early on in the series, his casting of a spell through snapping his fingers in season one and his solution to the final conflict in the Visitor Arc more or less make you wonder why anyone else bothers doing anything when he is around.
His favourite trick is largely just undoing other people’s activation sequences neutralising their magic. But there’s really yet to be any kind of magic or challenge that Tatsuya hasn’t been able to eventually see through or just make better with seemingly little effort. While it is nice to see a relatively self-assured protagonist who gets on with things without all the screaming and yelling, it is difficult to really feel a sense of tension in the story as we know Tatsuya is going to magically make everything all better again anyway.
And there is the narrative drama. Sure his friends might get caught up in situations or injured when he isn’t around. And there’s a whole bunch of political shenanigans going on around him that he has little control over and unless he wants to be a mass murderer all the power in the world won’t fix. But ultimately, once his power is unleashed and he’s decided to do something, it is more or less a given that he is going to succeed.
It will be interesting to see how the story deals with that and gets around him as the story progresses but having such a rule breaking main character has certainly created a few problems in terms of upping the stakes in a meaningful way.
Finally, I am going to use an example that is actually a problem from the premise. Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card has always kind of bothered me. Not because of the story itself, because once it gets going it is the usual Cardcaptor kind of thing. Some kind of magical phenomenon occurs, Sakura goes to capture it using cards with powers she’s already captured. She combines them in interesting ways at times, but she’s been doing that since the beginning. Though getting Syaoran wings was a very cool use of her power and he looked utterly adorable.
My issue with Clear Card is that it feels like it undermines everything that came before it. We started off with Sakura collecting Clow cards that she let escape from the box. It was a straight forward issue of being her responsibility to catch them all given she was the one who unleashed them. The next drama involved turning the cards into Sakura cards and making them her own. That all makes perfectly logical sense.
Then to kick of Clear Card, Sakura has a dream and all the cards turn clear. It kind of feels like a fairly poor excuse to make Sakura, once again, go through the process of finding and catching each of these abilities. Once was logical. The second time was a reasonable build on the basic premise and had the added emotional high of seeing Sakura come into her own power. Clear card feels trite. Like next the cards will all turn black and she’ll have to face the darkness to reclaim them. Then they will all glow like rainbows. And so on and so forth to keep the franchise stretching literally forever.
Magic is a wondrous thing and Cardcaptor actually has a pretty good handle on its internal logic within each arc of its story. However, at some point it feels like the writers need to realise the idea has played out and that they need to move on.
Whether it is pulling magical powers out of nowhere without consequence, characters who already exist outside of established rules making tension and buy-in a challenge, or over-stretching a magical concept for the sake of perpetuating a franchise, none of these are complete deal breaks for a narrative. However, they do all show weaknesses of using magic within stories and some of the pit-falls that a story can fall into if the writers aren’t half-awake.
The magic of a good story happens when all of the ingredients work together. Magic isn’t an instant fix or an easy set up for a conflict. It is something that needs to be integrated into the world of the story and as such needs rules and limits in order for it to make sense and to provide satisfaction.
At least, that’s how I feel. But now I’m turning over to my readers and asking for your examples of magic that has undermined an anime or alternatively, situations where magic has been used really well to really make a story sing.
Images used in article from:
The Irregular at Magic High School: Visitor Arc. Dir. R Yoshida. Aniplex et al. 2020.
Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card. Dir M Asaka. Madhouse. 2018
Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal. Dir. M Sakai. Toei Animation. 2014
Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime. Join the discussion in the comments. Karandi James
When magic and science meet with explosive results in the Visitor Arc.
Quite some time ago I watched this series I hadn’t heard anything about called The Irregular at Magic High School (or Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei). I hadn’t expected much given the overuse of superpowered kids in school settings in both anime and more recently Western TV shows, and honestly there were a whole pile of things that made me realise not everyone was going to universally love Irregular, and yet there was something about it that I really enjoyed.
Fortunately for me I had a friend who watched anime with me at the time and she also kind of loved it, so much so that she made a replica of the school uniform to wear when we went to a convention together.
The first series came out in 2014, I reviewed it in 2017 having watched it multiple times at that point, and I bought the DVD’s when they were finally available in Australia. I also own the first two volumes of the light novel series but haven’t yet got around to reading them. Maybe I’ll bump that up my to do list a bit, however like a lot of things, it is just going to have to wait. On that note, I haven’t yet watched the movie from 2017 so I really should get to these things quicker.
With that context in place, I was very excited on finally venturing back to anime after my break in 2020 to see that a new anime series had come out and was available on Anime Lab (Australia) for me to watch (yes it was available just for me LOL). This is the Visitor Arc and for me there were a few things I definitely hoped this season would deliver.
Visitor Arc is kind of a misleading label on this season for the simple fact that we seem to get two distinct dramas with the 13 episodes. The first is the one discussed in the synopsis you’ll find on MAL and similar sites. Basically one character goes on an overseas exchange and another character slots into the school. Naturally they aren’t what they appear to be and at the same time there seem to be vampire attacks occurring around the city.
However that arc is wrapped up, more or less – Irregular is fond of loose ends – by episode 10. The remaining episodes deal with a terrorist incident. Admittedly the motive for said incident is made clear during the previous episodes so there is definitely continuity here, it really is like its own mini-arc and to be honest the climax to the second arc is a bit of a fizzle compared to the first.
Also, they aren’t making any effort to bring new viewers into the franchise through this series. If you don’t know these characters and their pre-existing relationships, you are going to really not get most of their interactions. On the bright side, no long winded exposition dump getting everyone up to speed. Downside, only those willing to watch the anime in order need apply.
However, siblings Tatsuya and Miyuki are back. Their relationship remains complicated if a little obscure at times. The whole Shiba family remains relatively mysterious in terms of the power relationships at play and that is something I’m hoping I get a bit more of an insight into when I read the books. There is though a warning to those who don’t like any kind of incestuous reference that you are probably going to hate this pair.
If that isn’t a deal breaker, there’s a genuine warmth and concern between these two characters that at times excludes all else going on in a scene and Miyuki can go to wanting to encase someone in ice forever to laughingly indulgent with one look from her stoic brother. Over the course of this series they get a lot of screen time as they mull over the events taking place and work together at times to bring them to a close. In that sense, Miyuki gets a far more active role in the action this time around rather than Tatsuya doing all the heavy lifting.
Of course, that doesn’t change that Tatsuya redefines overpowered. Again, those of you who find overpowered male characters who without a single word seem to have an entire harem form around them for reasons that really don’t seem overly realistic, Irregular probably won’t work for you. Tatsuya one-ups the cliché by not even having to scream and shout to get his rule breaking super powered skills going.
Whether it is life or death or mere entertainment he remains cool and calm. Now, I find him a relatively nuanced character. It is subtle, but he does emote. However one of the key criticisms of season one was the protagonist being boring. Well, he hasn’t changed much. There’s a small evolution going on but it is again one you have to really watch for. I found it quite delightful seeing the small steps he’s taken and yet how he has remained true to his original stoic character mould that actually exists for a reason, but I get why other people don’t find him quite so entertaining.
Where the main pair retain everything that worked for them (and against them) in the first season, the rest of the Shiba’s classmates don’t fare so well. Mikihiko gets some moments to shine throughout the first ten episodes and the other characters all make various appearances.
Erika plays the hot-headed one and Mizuki the shy one. Shizuku is over in America and literally phones in her appearance while Honoka remains head over heels for Tatsuya, though they did at least make that a plot point even if it didn’t make a lot of sense. The student council and members of prominent families Saegusa and Juumonji also return for a few tea side chats but scarcely serve any purpose other than exposition.
The new addition to the cast, exchange student ‘call me Lina’ is a blonde foreigner who manages to keep her cover for exactly zero minutes though they do make an effort at a reveal at the end of episode 3 (I guess for people who still use the 3 episode rule to determine if they’ll continue a series – amazing how many mini-climactic moments or to be continues occur on third episodes these days). She works well enough but at the end of the day this anime was already cluttered with characters crying out for some space and adding Lina plus her colleagues into the mix didn’t really add much other than more clutter.
Okay, that wasn’t strictly speaking fair. They did actually further develop one thing I absolutely love about this series, and that is the world building.
For those who don’t know, Irregular is set in the future where magic and technology are combined in some really interesting ways. The political situation is quite complicated and because we primarily follow high schoolers (even ones as well connected and seemingly as vital to everything as these ones) we never really see the whole picture. Lina did bring in some more of the politics behind the events though ultimately we’re left with only a murky view of the political picture leaving me plenty curious about the world beyond.
That is the one thing Irregular consistently does right. The world these characters are in doesn’t exist simply because they are playing out their story here leaving everything else feel superfluous. Things are going on all the time outside of our character’s control and that even the audience doesn’t really get much of a look at and the world continues to move whether our characters are playing at giving poisonous valentine gifts or out saving the country.
The antagonists in the first ten episodes serve well enough but ultimately their goals are a little on the murky side. As is Tatsuya’s reason for opposing them really. I get his friend got hurt but they all seem to get over that pretty fast, including said injured friend. The terrorist group of the final few episodes provides a potentially cleaner opponent and the foreshadowing for their arrival was nicely woven in through the various conversations earlier in the season, but with barely 3 episodes they end up being largely throw away.
From a technical point of view, The Irregular at Magic High School hasn’t really progressed from its 2014 roots. Crowd scenes are largely stills with panning or at one point some clumsy shaky-cam work while voices are played over the top. Even main characters when not actually speaking seem to be frozen in place with one character left pointing at her own face for nearly three lines of additional dialogue after emphasising ‘me’ in an earlier line.
For me this isn’t a deal breaker but for those who are watching anime for some flowing and impressive animation, other than a couple of combat sequences where magic and martial arts get blended quite magnificently largely Irregular doesn’t deliver. The characters are cute though and despite the large number you can distinguish between them visually.
The opening and closing themes are serviceable though aren’t really going to stick in your memory. Likewise the visuals that accompany them. Thematic music throughout the series is more affective with some nicely built up tension in some scenes and lighter moments underscored quite beautifully as well.
I watched the majority of the series in English dub (mostly because I forgot I changed my AnimeLab settings that specify Japanese as my preferred language when watching another show with a friend and I didn’t realise that the Japanese was available until midway when suddenly they ran out of dubbed episodes). Both English and Japanese voice actors do a solid job keeping somewhat lengthy discussions moving along and add enough emotional nuance to at least give you something to pay attention to. My only real issue with the English dub is that the characters sound a lot less like high school students then they do in the Japanese.
For me, the joy of seeing the world again and revisiting with Tatsuya and Miyuki was definitely worth it and both major plot points are given some closure despite deliberate loose ends and sequel baiting. The magic scenes are solid, there’s enough incidental action to break up the conversations, and honestly even though the support cast didn’t get enough room to shine they are all charming in their own way. The only real issues are ones that existed in season one so those who liked this series should be relatively happy with this offering.
Images used for review from: The Irregular at Magic High School: Visitor Arc. Dir. R Yoshida. Aniplex et al. 2020.
Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime. Join the discussion in the comments. Karandi James
You know sometimes when you are watching an anime and you realise how much you would love to travel more and see more places and experience more things? I get that feeling a lot though regularly it isn’t for places that actually exist and most of the time I think if I ever actually went there I would probably die. However, I’ve decided to put together my top 5 vacation spots picked from watching various anime. Here I go on my fantasy tour of 5 places from anime I’d love to visit.
Please note, there will be spoilers below.
Honourable mentions: Anywhere in Japan from almost any anime.
Number 5: Piffle World (Tsubasa Chronicles)
I know, it is a really silly name, but I loved this world when I was watching Tsubasa. While so many of the worlds they visited were pseudo medieval either westernised or Japanese, Piffle World was a futuristic city world with flying cars and it just looked like a lot of fun. It wasn’t so far removed from our own technological level that it was incomprehensible, but it felt a few generations ahead of us. What I really appreciated was that despite the sheer amount of industrialisation and traffic, somehow the air and sky were beautifully clear. It might be a fantasy but balancing technology without polluting the skies has a lot of appeal. Okay, Sakura may have helped sell this world a bit as she looked truly adorable.
Needless to say this is after Kirito defeated the game and released all the players and the game was rebuilt without the whole death trap aspect. Let’s be real, Aincrad is a beautiful world. Each level has its own look and feel so you can take your pick of scenery, there’s plenty of variety in the creatures to fight, and it is a fair world in that the rules are what they are (unless you have the power of love in which case go crazy). I would definitely love to visit this world (just got to keep checking that the log out button exists).
When looking at future versions of the world there are a lot of dystopian, after civilisation have ended type stories, and realistically Irregular fits right in with those, but I just love the way they’ve blended magic and technology in their vision of the future. It is like the best combination of sci-fi and fantasy to produce something that feels wholly unique and yet fits with what we know from those genres. As to the world itself, I’m not entirely sure it is safe, but just the thought of being able to try out some magic with technological aide is enough to make me at least want to visit.
Oh look, it is an actual real location coming it at number 2. And The Eccentric Family isn’t the only anime that has sold me on Kyoto. My first trip to Japan I got to Osaka but didn’t have time for Kyoto and I really regret that and my second trip I went north from Tokyo so didn’t get near Kyoto then either. If you’ve never seen the Eccentric Family, it is a wonderful blending of folklore with modernity in a way that just made me really intrigued to see the place it was set and while I imagine it won’t look all that much like the anime, I’m hoping that the anime has captured some of the feel of the real location.
Much like Aincrad, I am putting the explanation in here that I want to visit the Moon Kingdom prior to it being destroyed. It looks gorgeous. Admittedly I’m not so sure about the whole lack of atmosphere, change in gravity thing, but you know the anime didn’t worry about small details like that so I’m not sure I should be all that concerned either. Parties, gardens, fountains, great food, fireworks; these all feature heavily in flash backs of the Moon Kingdom prior to its destruction and it looks like a great time.
I’d love to know where you would like to take a vacation and which anime you saw it in so leave me a comment below.
Before getting into this list, I will point out that one of the most annoying things in stories than an anime character who the audience is told is smart who then acts like a complete air-head for the entire run-time. I get that some characters are smart in one specific skill and therefore have issues at other things, but some supposedly smart characters just act really dumb. Therefore, my list is focusing on consistency. Characters who are smart and who consistently seem to think through their actions, even if they don’t always draw the right conclusions.
That said, I’d love to know who you would have included on your list of smart anime characters so please leave a comment below.
Please note, there will be spoilers below.
Honourable Mentions: Light (Death Note), Uruhara (Bleach), and Ami (Sailor Moon).
Realistically I understand the Lelouch made a lot of mistakes. Still, given he was a high school student who was presented with a sudden opportunity to take what he wanted, he actually thought through quite a few things and had a lot more success than he might have if he wasn’t such a quick thinker. Ultimately, for all the mistakes Lelouch made, he found a way back and some of his plans were pretty brilliant. Probably Lelouch’s biggest problem early on was over-confidence but after the end of season 1 he seemed to overcome that and from then on he was pretty good at what he was doing.
Rei is a genius Shogi player. He doesn’t get much about life and what he does get, he overthinks horribly, but considering his age and experience, the boy is pretty smart. Even though he puts himself down all the time and, particularly in season one, he paints himself in a negative light, he’s someone who is managing to live on his own, study his craft, and attempt to finish school mostly on his own. He’s one smart cookie and one who deserves to give himself a bit of praise every now and then for what he has achieved and he shouldn’t worry so much about his failures.
Number 3: Kurisu (Steins;Gate)
I had a hard time deciding between Okabe and Kurisu, but ultimately Kurisu is the more logical and the one more likely to put the hard work in to figure out what makes things tick. Okabe’s more manic approach may stumble upon a success every now and again, but Kurisu is the one who can begin to understand the how and the why and the limitations. Almost all of the adaptations to the phone-microwave as the series went on were because of Kurisu’s testing and meticulous work and so she well and truly deserves her place on this list. That and she managed to not kill Okabe for calling her Christina.
For someone who can’t perform well on the standardised tests of his world, Tatsuya Shiba more than makes up for it everywhere else. Brilliant at magical theory, manipulating magical devices, and generally figuring out ways around his limitations, he’s more or less unstoppable (which would kind of be why so many people throw the overpowered label at him). Be that as it may, he’s a very smart character and one I would not want to be up against in any battle of wits – though that’s probably true of every character on this list.
For all that he ended up an experiment that went a bit wrong, Korosensei proves over and over again that he knows his stuff as a teacher. He delivers the curriculum across a range of subjects and also expands the students’ knowledge into a whole range of fields. If it wasn’t for the whole blow up the world thing, he’d be the perfect teacher and he certainly deserves his place as number one on my list.
And that’s my list but I’d love to know what would make your list.
In 2095 magic have become scientifically broken down and magicians are part of various countries basic defense strategy. The Shiba siblings, Tatsuya and Miyuki, have been accepted into First High School but Miyuki is accepted into the first course where as Tatsuya, who scored brilliantly on paper but poorly in practical tests, is only accepted into the second course. The series covers three arcs: The Enrollment Arc, The Nine Schools Competition, and the Yokohama Disturbance.
Let’s address the obvious straight up: yes, Tatsuya and Miyuki are way too close as siblings for conventional comfort and Tatsuya does in fact get his own little fan club of female students (I’d say harem but given his complete lack of sexual awareness or demonstrated desire realistically they could fan girl forever and he’d just ask them if they needed their CAD adjusted). Tatsuya also gets hit with the label of bland protagonist and hopelessly overpowered a lot.
I’m not actually going to deny any of those claims given they are all pretty valid (with the exception that Tatsuya is bland – I’d say more personality neutral for a deliberate purpose) so if that’s enough to make you throw in the towel on a series, this one isn’t going to work for you.
However, if you can get past all of that, and Miyuki’s clinginess in the first arc doesn’t make you throw up a bit in your mouth (seriously, Miyuki is an incredibly powerful magic user in her own right, why is she that needy) then you will actually find quite a fun high school fantasy here.
Starting with the world itself. I love that magic has been reintroduced into the world but turned into a science. Magical technicians work on CAD’s to help spell processing speeds and theoretical papers are written about applications for magic in terms of energy production and similar (in fact the final arc focusses on the disturbance surrounding a thesis competition). As a result, the world feels fairly authentic. Characters don’t just chant latinish sounding phrases and poof whatever happens. Each spell is the result of sequences of magic and activation codes with large numbers of variables. That is where Tatsuya is truly an irregular.
See, while Tatsuya is put in the second course at the school, he himself explains that he is poor at practical skills, which in terms of how the school tests and assesses is correct. His spell activation speed when using traditional processes is poor. However, they make a clear point of explaining that Tatsuya can calculate multiple variables exceedingly quickly which means he can produce some impressive effects with fairly basic spells and use spells in unconventional ways. Later on we also learn that he doesn’t need to build an entire sequence anyway because he can instantly recall the entire spell for a ‘flash cast’ which means while he isn’t going to ever ace school his military application as a magician is pretty impressive (hence the overpowered label he gets smacked with even though there are a couple of obvious limitations).
For a brief moment it looks like this story might actually be taking a jab at the use of standardised testing in schools, however after a less than subtle conversation between members of the student council, the issue is quickly brushed under the rug and we just get on with Tatsuya being awesome despite being a course 2 student. This is probably my biggest complaint about this series. There are actually quite a few moments where there could be some good social commentary but rather than embracing these they become more throw away plot points as the story rushes to get on with the next bit of obvious narrative development. The end result is a fairly shallow story that might be entertaining but doesn’t have any lasting impact despite the fact that it has several opportunities to rise about this.
From a fantasy point of view, I found the magic in this story fascinating and I liked how it developed and we learned about different types of magic and different ways of using it. That’s where the three arcs are each distinct and fun in their own way.
The first one we meet the students at school, watch them fend off an attack (introducing a range of spell types) and then some of the stronger students go and massacre the attackers (because who doesn’t send students to do that). However the first arc does well to introduce us to Tatsuya the student.
The second arc is a sports tournament. There’s no getting around that. However with sabotage, secret agents, and the Chinese mafia (I think) all getting involved, it isn’t your standard tournament and this is where we learn more about Tatsuya the weapon. The innovative ways magic is used in a variety of events though is kind of fun. Even something as simple as target shooting has a range of approaches.
Then we go to the third arc which crosses between the thesis competition as well as more about Tatsuya’s military and family ties. Arguably this is the weakest arc because we spend a lot of time in battle and quite a few of the students we’ve come to like are pretty well sidelined for the duration. It’s kind of a shame the story ends on this arc. It is also where I lose any ability to defend Tatsuya from the overpowered label. Some of the spells he uses in this arc really do make him seem pretty unstoppable and also kind of remove any tension about his friends suffering permanent harm. If you want to see some cool spells though, this arc is for you.
Outside of the magic and the way that is explored, the characters are a lot of fun. I really like a lot of the supporting cast members. They each get their moment to shine and most of them are just fun to watch in action. Okay, we do end up heavily female heavy in the cast particularly after the second arc where Tatsuya is assigned to the junior female competitors as their technician. Despite that, the guys manage to make their presence felt and it was nice that this wasn’t a literal one man show.
Visually this anime is really pretty. Character designs are pretty standard, but I love the girl’s uniform and the magic itself is really beautiful to look at. Each setting is distinct enough from the school to the hotel where the sports tournament takes place to Yokohama. I also really like the feel of the cafe where they hang out occasionally.
So yes, I loved this anime. Despite all the clichés that come along (the bath sequence, bouncing breast, misunderstandings leading to a guy getting slapped, rivals, etc) this world feels like a plausible future and the magic is fascinating. The characters hold their own in the story and while Tatsuya may not be the most exciting protagonist, he’s capable and sure of his ability without being cocky (though at times he definitely let’s it known that he does have an inferiority complex which given his family situation seems warranted).
I will point out that not all the loose ends are tied up and there are still a lot of secrets that the Shiba siblings have not yet explained when we reach the final arc of the series (particularly what is going on with their family). Still, it’s a relatively fun watch.
Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime. Join the discussion in the comments. Karandi James
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