Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei – Episode 2

Management: I didn’t really intend this to be so brutal, but now that it’s finished and I’m looking over it… yeah. This one’s kinda merciless, and posting it makes me a little nervous. I don’t mean to directly attack anyone with this piece – it’s mainly about being aware of the subtext of media, and not letting things that appeal to our base needs trick us into bad attitudes. I wrote it both because I find the psychology of media interesting and because I think Mahouka is a perfect representation of some of media’s more questionable powers. If you like Mahouka, that’s totally cool, I’m not saying you’re wrong to enjoy it. If you’d rather have something more positive, please enjoy this delightful gif and check back next time.

There are a number of different ways to approach criticizing a text. You can criticize the beauty of the execution itself – how it obeys certain agreed-upon rules of aesthetic execution, and how it exists purely as an object to marvel at. You can try to put it in a given historical or social context, or explore the life of the creator to see what demons the text may be working to exorcise. You can isolate certain details, or try to fit the overarching structure into a certain aesthetic or psychological framework. You can talk about themes, both intended and unintended. You can work off your gut, your training, or some arbitrary ideal of perfect beauty.

Normally, I try to come to shows open to however they may strike me. If a show strikes me as entertaining, I’ll try to critique it as entertainment. If it strikes me as insightful, I’ll try to engage with its insight. All of this is deeply colored, of course, by my own priorities – I wouldn’t recommend myself as the premier source for critiques of action shows, for example. But Mahouka already seems like it will reward one specific, fairly compelling exploration, and so that’s what I’m probably going to focus on here.


Mahouka is a juvenile power fantasy. Based on everything I’ve heard about it, everything I’ve read about the events to come, everything I know of the prose, and everything I learned from the first episode, it all points one way. This is a show designed to make teenage boys feel powerful and secure. That’s a reasonable thing – feeling powerful is hard enough for adults to do, and when you’re an isolated teen with little control over your broader destiny, it’s a great feeling to have media to lean on, media that encourages you. People need this stuff, and the craft of giving people what they need is actually pretty interesting in its own right, even if the writer himself is only subconsciously addressing his own needs.

The protagonist of Mahouka exemplifies this need. He’s reserved, but extremely powerful – though he says little, people flock to him either because his competence is beyond question or just because. He exists in a world of Blooms and Weeds, who I might as well already start calling Bullies and Nerds – a world where an arbitrary social hierarchy prevents him from being valued for the talents he so clearly has. In this world, unlike the real world, power is articulated through a convoluted, arbitrary system of magic-tech – the equivalent of a videogame or fantasy novel ability system. Instead of your power being a manifestation of your social acumen, here it is reflective of how well you can memorize and act on a specific set of rules – a comforting thought for many of society’s outsiders.

The rest of Mahouka so far has fallen out in fairly predictable fashion. His sister is the first one who appreciates/loves/love-loves him – a staple of modern anime. His parents don’t understand him. He has a lecherous sensei and a few potential female suitors. He’s hated by the jocks.


That’s pretty much where we’re at right now – by defusing a schoolyard scuffle through his calculating mind and quick wit, he’s earned the ire of the blustering tough kids who’ve been given all of life’s gifts even though our hero clearly deserves them more. Let’s see what episode two has to say – and more pertinently, what it has to provide for its audience.

Episode 2

0:23 – This show is pretty much buried in “knowing looks” and “meaningful glances.” There’s this tone that seems to imply the key players are all working on a second level – that everyone’s polite because that’s what you do at school, but the important characters all communicate through these loaded statements. It’s pretty much the Hachiman theory of social interaction – everyone’s lying to each other all the time, and more importantly, there is a distinctive, specific second level of understanding what’s going on that only certain insightful people are privy to.


It’s a very simplistic view of how people interact. Assuming that there’s a “universal” second level of intent that people can actually communicate across basically assumes there’s only one, correct way of thinking or dissecting human relationships – the one the audience already assumes exists because they think that way. I’m told that in the light novels this is even more extreme – the protagonist actually describes how he understands what characters mean by the subtlest of gestural clues. This is pretty much impossible to consistently do, but again, it’s a comforting lie for people who want to believe they understand and are above social interactions. Mahouka tells you you’re right – these interactions are a sham, and if you only met the right people, you could all commiserate over having to put up with the Grand Lie of High School together

0:46 – They are reaaally big on the hierarchy in this school. The show itself seems to be trying to paint this in terms of class or discrimination, but the actual metaphor they’re making seems much more on the nose – this is the subtext of certain experiences of high school turned into the actual text


1:02 – He can get away with playing the system, but everyone knows he’s playing it, and respects him for it. The best of both worlds

1:18 – The opponent clings to his alleged social superiority because he has nothing else to cling to. This is a key part of the fantasy – the idea that those who are successful don’t necessarily deserve their success. That society grants its favors arbitrarily, and that if the world were only “fair,” the right people would be rewarded (i.e. our protagonist here and all the audience members rooting for him). It’s a naive philosophy that generally requires both a serious ignorance of the actual complexities of societal relations and a very misguided, presumptuous view of the self – but if you’re a teenager who feels the world doesn’t care about you, it’s comforting to think that’s the world’s fault. As young escapism, it’s fine – unfortunately, as the internet is ready to prove, many people will gladly turn personal anger and ignorance into a philosophy that refuses to recognize the problems anyone else faces. An inflated view of the self and an ignorance of and apathy towards the suffering of others is kind of the cornerstone of some fairly popular modern philosophies.

1:24 – He’s supposed to be cold and calculating, but the author can’t resist including those little jabs we all think of fifteen seconds after the perfect moment has passed


2:11 – Selling a reality where everyone treats each other the way they deserve to be treated

3:31 – This social stuff is fun and all, but I do hope we get to some action eventually

4:10 – Lil sis seems to get the short end of the characterization stick. But yeah, I’ve talked about why little sisters as love interests are so popular before

4:22 – I wish my friends spent all their time with me talking about how great I am. Our protagonist being really good at programming and planning for fights, but not good at the “born with it” in-the-moment execution, works in all sorts of ways. First, it’s basically a battle-focused version of someone who plans everything they say but isn’t good at being charming off the cuff – i.e. the kind of person this fantasy appeals to in the first place. Second, it also plays up how important these arbitrary magical systems are in this world, and this show is aimed at an audience that tends to like and value such systems, be they in fantasy novels or videogames. And finally, it also plays up how he wins in a “fair” way – unlike the people were unfairly blessed with talents, he supposedly “works” for everything he accomplishes

[HorribleSubs] Mahouka - 02 [720p].mkv_snapshot_04.22_[2014.04.13_13.48.06]

5:02 – And of course, this show itself revels in those arbitrary fantastical systems. They’re comforting – they make sense. Real life conflict is a lot messier

6:05 – Speaking of knowing looks

Incidentally, I don’t really think this show is intentionally, cynically playing to the base desires of its audience. I think it was written by one of the members of its audience, and plays to all this stuff because he actually feels that way. A lot of stuff is intended to be cynical, but I think this is earnest

That doesn’t make it better, of course – I’m doing this particular writeup because I think it’s really important to always consider what your media actually says. But it is honest

7:25 – Why would he say this? If he’s actually a calculating person, does spelling it out like this further his goals?


Nope – it’s for the audience’s benefit. He’s playing to the crowd. We’re here to really know he’s smart and awesome, even if the ways he displays it don’t necessarily make sense in-story

7:56 – Only an anime character would make this joke. This seasonal blockbuster has a bit more trouble escaping its roots than SAO, and much more trouble than Titan – that might ultimately limit its crossover appeal

8:23 – This might actually seem preferrable to votes, considering that in this show’s philosophy it’s likely that voting would be considered one more unfair system dictated by arbitrary social popularity. Like Hachiman, this show only knows enough about the alleged rules of society to want to withdraw, not to actually engage with them

8:41 – Man, this show sure is exposition-heavy


9:13 – Little sister intensifies

10:18 – Getting pretty tired of this. Again, anime as hell – a little sister who looks to her big brother for any and all decisions would not fly outside of our weird little bubble

11:00 – Being universally loved and excelling at everything: his blessing and his curse

13:28 – It’s like gym class all over again. A public space, watching others succeed or fail, knowing there are people waiting behind you as you struggle. Nasty stuff

14:01 – I welcome a turn to internal monologues. He can’t communicate by knowing looks forever


14:40 – Oh man, ignored. That’s what stings the worst, and that’s a big part of why people retreat into these attitudes – better to ignore the world before it has a chance to ignore you

15:15 – I guess this guy gets pretty hung up on our arbitrary identities

15:35 – Getting back to what I was covering in the beginning – that second level of high school interactions that everybody apparently knows about but doesn’t talk about. In truth, allegedly “successful” people don’t spend all their time plotting the continued subjugation of the outsiders – but it’s an oddly comforting thought

17:20 – This might as well be the entire show’s message right here. It’s not that “discriminating against the weak is wrong” – it’s that society arbitrarily chooses the weak people, and its methods of discrimination are wrong


17:29 – Holy crap, stick a fedora on this guy. Way to unintentionally parody the kind of socially ignorant internet person who’d actually love your real messages, Mahouka

Although the truth of this is actually even more rich – he’s the guy we’re supposed to disagree with here, but we’re not supposed to disagree with his methods. We’re supposed to think he’s just incorrectly applying a “rational” view of person-assessment, but that “rational” views of person-assessment are still a meaningful and potentially valuable thing. My god, this show

18:03 – Time to get serious

19:03 – What a limp character. Her entire personality is “loves her brother” and “occasionally loves her brother so much she sticks up for her brother in spite of her usual total deference to her brother.” This show doesn’t try very hard to be anything more than the fantasies it’s offering


19:16 – Like with their opponent’s rant, here he’s praising her for “saying what we’re all thinking,” which as I keep saying implies a very specific version of reality. None of these characters have different worldviews – they all fit into the view of society the writer adheres to, and the show itself is rallying against a simplistic view of oppression and unfairness that simply doesn’t apply to the real world

19:27 – All the characters in this show could probably finish each other’s sentences. It’s all just one head, and good writing requires being able to adopt multiple perspectives. Not ‘what you believe,’ ‘what you believe except in a tsundere,’ and ‘what you don’t believe articulated as a strawmen’ – good writing requires understanding that the multiplicity of human experience and perspective is real, valid, and valuable, and that two people fundamentally disagreeing on how the world works doesn’t mean one of them is wrong. Generally this is something you come to learn as you grow up, talk to more people, and move outside of your own perspective and headspace – that this show is so clearly written from a place of only believing in one perspective kind of speaks to some of the fundamental issues we face in modern society


20:57 – Poor choice of words, since that’s clearly his opponent’s specialty – being charming in person is hard, but planning a perfect attack can be done as long as you possess the worthy kind of skills

And Done

Welp, I think that about covers it! I won’t be doing continuing episodics for this show – I’m pretty confident it’ll continue to be about the same sort of things, and while discussing that stuff once is pretty interesting, it probably wouldn’t be interesting to read me repeating myself as the show slowly elaborates the worldview I’m already talking about. Shows like Mahouka exist for a reason – life is tough and full of random unfairness, and media’s power to take us away from that, to connect with us and empower us, is laudable and valuable. But media can’t replace an engagement with the real world, and though values like these can make us feel more powerful in bad situations, they can also be very hurtful if we don’t come to look past them. I don’t really have a problem with Mahouka – it’s light entertainment designed to make young people feel understood. I do have a problem with us not questioning the things we consume, and with us distancing ourselves from the true multiplicity of existence. Enjoy the show, but don’t let this author’s scared, narrow worldview convince you the world really is as unfair as all that.

Incidentally, Guy’s post on light novel writing goes into some of the more mechanical issues that result in what I was talking about regarding character interactions and voice here.

38 thoughts on “Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei – Episode 2

  1. Pingback: Spring 2014 – First Impressions, Part Two | Wrong Every Time

  2. (4:22) And finally, it also plays up how he wins in a “fair” way – unlike the people were unfairly blessed with talents, he supposedly “works” for everything he accomplishes

    This is so very amusing, because he was given his powers just like everyone the show supposedly rails against. First it discusses how you should work and earn your prowess, but everyone here who has powers gained them through genetic inheritance, or passing on family secrets, etc.

    This is of course only later on, after our heroes had cast down the “unrightful Blooms”, and after everything they do is kosher, that it is revealed to be that way. For every single member of Tatsuya’s cohort.

    But at least it feeds into the fruitful theme the show later explores, “What does it mean to be human?” and “What is the difference between human and tool?”

    17:20 17:20 – This might as well be the entire show’s message right here. It’s not that “discriminating against the weak is wrong”

    Just wait till we get to what bothers me. You know what it is. An ode to Meritocracy. Which this episode sort of seems to fight against, since it’s arbitrary and all, but then there’s an ode to it.

    But if you think about it, it fits. Miyuki isn’t saying “The system’s rotten, we should abolish the system!” but that Tatsuya is still the strongest, and that he’s the most worthy of being at the top. She too believes in the system, just not the measurement.

    17:29 – Holy crap, stick a fedora on this guy. Way to unintentionally parody the kind of socially ignorant internet person who’d actually love your real messages, Mahouka.

    Though I too hate “Explanation versus excuse”, and it’s indeed less relevant due to the whole piece being about subtext, there’s actually a pretty good in-world explanation for this. One of the things I actually liked. Magicians force their will upon the world, so they must be able to tell apart what is real from what is fake, and must have a strong will that can impose itself on the world.

    Someone argued with me on how this text isn’t Objectivist, but this is exactly what is written under the “Epistemology” part of Objectivism. Tatsuya is invited to the Morals Committee because his perception is without peer. Perception is super important in magic system, as Hattori points out, and also in Objectivism, though I don’t think that actually matters, but just an aside to that criticism.

    19:03 – What a limp character. Her entire personality is “loves her brother” and “occasionally loves her brother so much she sticks up for her brother in spite of her usual total deference to her brother.” This show doesn’t try very hard to be anything more than the fantasies it’s offering

    She’s probably the least interesting main character here. It’s true. Some would argue for Shibata Mizuki (glasses-girl), but I don’t think she’s a “main character).

    19:27 – All the characters in this show could probably finish each other’s sentences. It’s all just one head, and good writing requires being able to adopt multiple perspectives

    This feeds into what I discussed, in the books, it is almost entirely told “in one head”, with Tatsuya actually supplementing us with every character’s motivations and sub-motivations, and later on, whoever is the narrator at that segment (we have some cases where he’s not present, after all).

    • This is of course only later on, after our heroes had cast down the “unrightful Blooms”, and after everything they do is kosher, that it is revealed to be that way. For every single member of Tatsuya’s cohort.

      This sounds a lot like people’s beef with Naruto. A show starts as the tale about hard work beating talent, but years later, the author’s so punch drunk on mkaing clever plot connections (which appears to be keeping the writing tight and conservation of detail) that Chosen One bullshit starts popping up. A lot of people were actually on board with the “Naruto is Yondaime’s son” thing years before the reveal, before they realized the implications of it on the original themes. (Which were shaky to begin with, because Kyuubi ex machina, but I digress)

      • *on board with the “Yondaime’s son” thing because they recognized the connections of the details as a neat writing trick and appropriately ironic backstory

    • So it’s like the show can’t resist accidentally acknowledging the underlying lie of meritocracy? That’s… kind of hilarious, actually. Less so because shows like this actually encourage people to be narcissists, but still pretty funny.

      That system of magic actually does some pretty sweet, but man, that word choice is just too perfect.

  3. Pretty interesting analysis.

    It’s interesting how SAO and Mahouka are both huge “juvenile power fantasies” but they do it in very different ways.

    SAO was about the cool loner hero, he’s not good at dealing with people but still comes to save the day when needed and gets respect from certain people (girls, etc) while still being disliked by others, so that he can maintaince his loner status.

    Mahouka is a different sort of thing, I think you explained it really well in your post. But essentially, instead of avoiding people, he actually deals with all the social discrimination headon.

    • I think these shows are both kind of dishonest about how they present their heroes (both of them actually have people flock to them, for example), but as I said, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s really just that while SAO states “the world doesn’t appreciate you – here, enjoy a world that does,” Mahouka seems to state “the world doesn’t appreciate you – that’s because the world’s a rotten, unfair place,” which doesn’t really do anyone any favors. I think we need more shows that approach these needs with both empathy and perspective – basically shows that take the Sensei position from OreGairu.

      • Errm, these shows are generally about entertainment, not healing peoples emotional scars or making them grow as a person.

        • Pretty much my whole post is saying that the reason this show is entertaining and thus popular is because it appeals to people with certain psychological makeups. The conversation doesn’t end at “it’s entertaining” – people are entertained by different things for different reasons. And we’re all affected by the media we consume – I’m saying this show appeals to people for reasons that indicate they probably could stand to grow a bit, but that it encourages stasis and unhealthy attitudes instead.

      • I don’t think that light novels are the appropriate venue for that though…

        Though I guess OreGairu is a bit better in that it acknowledges how self-destructive Hachiman “power fantasy” actions are.

  4. Light novel spoilers ahead.

    To its credit, the light novel does frame the high school power tripping as petty and shallow in the grand scheme of things. It turns out that even before high school, Tatsuya had received recognition from various Real World institutions. The people who matter have never looked down on him, which emphasizes the short-sightedness of teenage oppression. It’s still a power fantasy, of course. But it shifts from a juvenile power fantasy to a patriotic one.

    Except for the part about the girls. The light novel can’t stop talking about the girls.

    • LN Spoilers ahead.

      The people who matter have never looked down on him

      Like his family? 😉

      And yet, they still have him conquering each thing in turn, first the school, then local crime organizations, then an enemy invading attack ship, then an enemy fleet, then an otherworldly invasion 😉 Not just patriotic, but for the sake of mankind. He even wants to give us a renewable energy source.

      All of which doesn’t actually excuse anything, it’s just more of the same, without actually addressing the complaints Bobduh brings up on the underlying issues. That is being a power fantasy, in part. All of the above, they just feed into it. They are more examples of the issue. “Recognize me, and I will change the world. I could fix anything, if only I were allowed to.”

    • Yeah, I’ve heard about how the light novel describes the girls. It really seems to go against the character they’re establishing for the protagonist – just another way the author can’t help but write in his own voice, I suppose.

  5. Hello Bobduh, I just want to let you know how much I have enjoyed your writing. I am at a point in life where I just got my first job out of Uni. I was, and still am a person with a narrow point of view. I am still in the process of taking a more healthy perspective about life. It is sometimes still easy to give into the temptation of just ignoring the world before the world ignores you.

    Your perspective on art and people in general helped me to take my head out of my ass. I have come across very few writers on the internet that encourages the level of empathy you have exhibited in your writings.

    • Thank you! I’m so glad to hear my writing has been a help to you – honestly, that means a lot to me. Good luck with your new job!

  6. Believe me. You don’t want to be Tatsuya. You don’t want to be an emotionally lobotomized Post-human in a family of Post-humans par excellence. Whatever the implications of the early episodes would suggest, the truth is that Tatsuya is in mind and status a slave, who happens to have a nominal master who worships him, but cannot free him.

    The world of Mahouka is transhumanism gone horribly wrong – blooms and weeds are just the tip of a horrible iceberg.

    • That honestly kind of seems like a next-level-up version of the meta martyr situation I’m talking about here, but I guess I’ll have to see how it plays out.

      • It is. And also goes all the way up to Japan as the Martyr nation of the world and magicians as the Martyr of society. That’s the reason why Animesuki banned all discussion on Nationalism in the Mahouka threads.

        I’ll describe Mahouka has a power fantasy, set in a society (not school) with dystopian elements in it. Basically, the power fantasy meets dystopia – and the dystopia does not yield on a global level, even if it does on a limited local level.

  7. I would love, at the end of this, to see how Miyuki (that’s the sister’s name, right) winds up in comparison to Asuna.

    There should have been people decrying Miyuki as a terrible, demeaning portrayal if a female character from the first episode. Or maybe there were and I just missed it, but still…for all the feminist-esque rhetoric I’ve heard blasting Asuna (who I don’t think deserves it), there should be a firestorm right now over the way Miyuki has been treated.

    Or maybe it’s not popular to bash Mahouka yet =D

    • I think part of the issue with Asuna is how her character had “betrayed” what she stood for early on.

      Miyuki never changes, and as you said, it’d take time for Mahouka to catch on, and I doubt it’d catch on with people who truly care about these ideas anyway.

      • I’d debate your first paragraph, but I’ve had that particular discussion enough times that I’m not interested in having it again.

        Still, is betrayal worse than the blatant misogyny evident in a female character who only exists the context of a male character? Sure, Asuna was perfect and made Kirito look better for it, but at least she had agency and character definition outside of him.

        Miyuki is the worst kind of female character that anime puts on the screen, and it’s sad that I can/have to say that.

      • Remind me, was her agency demonstrated at the point where she nearly got tentatcle raped, or the part where she nearly got plain old ordinary raped?

      • And you guys keep spoiling the show on a blog where you know the author didn’t get to that material yet :-/

    • I’m not really presenting my opinion, just a possible explanation.

      And yes, when you have no expectations, you drop a show or watch it knowing what you’re going to get. Seeing a hero(ine) being reduced to nothing can anger people. People hate on shows that disappointed them more than on those they never had hopes for.

    • Yeah, she’s awful. I think right now the MC is kind of hogging all the Mahouka-criticism focus, but if Miyuki stays anything like she currently is, her portrayal should come under fire soon too. She’s like all the worst parts of anime incest characters mixed with all the worst parts of subservient waifu characters.

      • Well, the other alternative is to regard Tatsuya as a tool, not a human, in her mind. My interpretation of her characters, after her backstory is essentially, because she’s been raised to regard and treat Tatsuya as sub-ordinate, sub-human and beholden to her, the only other way she knows how to deal with Tatsuya, is reversing the relationship the other way round . If she’s been told to disdain Tatsuya ever since her childhood, she goes to the other extreme after a certain series of events that made the basis of that disdain untenable in her view. She has no knowledge how to treat Tatsuya as an equal, and there’s no pressure in the society of Mahouka for her to learn to do so. As such, from modern eyes, her relationship appears to be alien, and wrong – she is shaped by the dystopia of Mahouka, and can only conceive opposing the dystopia, in terms already shaped by her upbringing in the dystopia. Either she is the Superior being (as she’s been taught to see herself, but rejects), or he, is the Superior being. There’s no in between solution for her.

        It’s an extremely unhealthy relationship by our standards today, but in world, is just another chilling reminder of how unlike our world, Mahouka is, and of the dystopian elements of Mahouka. More or less, Miyuki worships her brother and regards him as a higher being, after certain events, of which then opening of the first episode of Mahouka was just a snippet of. Which is an ironic reversal of how she was raised, where she was taught to regard Tatsuya as an inferior being, and Tatsuya raised to regard her sister as master, because formally speaking, Tatsuya doesn’t fit the standard definition of a Magician in the Mahouka world. In her world, Equality despite massive disparities in magical power is impossible in Miyuki’s mental world.

        She doesn’t just like being those things, she does it because she wants to, and because her brother has no power to refuse her if she wants it so. And Tatsuya, being raised to regard himself as her Guard, and his sister as his master will not object, if her sister exercises what he sees as her rights over him to behave in such a manner. Do both of them no longer look recognizably human to you? It’s deliberate, because some of the characters in Mahouka are very human. But not the two main protagonists, who are explorations into Transhuman themes. The author is trying to write a Transhuman set of protagonist in the siblings, not a human set of protagonists. Whether or not Tatsuya and Miyuki are effective Transhuman characters is a more valid question here.

        If Mahouka really deliberately wanted to promote the submissive Waifu stereotype to the utmost, Tatsuya and Miyuki’s position would be reversed.

        That’s just my take from the LNs, once we know why Tatsuya and Miyuki are the way they are. The problem of course, is that such characters are difficult to execute well, without alienating the audience, and Mahouka’s author was clearly not good enough to pull of those characters well in the first volume. It says something about the limits of the author when an entire volume (the 8th volume) had to be written to explore the origins of Tatsuya and Miyuki’s very bizarre relationship.

  8. For some reasons, those “power fantasies” never worked on me. I can’t relate to someone who is perfect and respected, or to someone who is bland.
    That’s strange, because I was one of the designated target from this kind of show. Still am in a way, even if I grow up.

    That being said, what you write doesn’t apply only to the main. It’s clear that all the others characters are in the same case than Awesome McPerfect (but slightly less so). Red Haired Girl is revealed to be also exceptional but unrecognized in this episode.
    This is not about being amazing, and is not really a harem (Red Haired Girl (can’t remember anyone’s name outside of Leonhard. but only because it’s an amazing name). It’s about finding person like you, who can understand how you feels.
    It’s directed to the lonley kid who is desesperately searching for love, but doesn’t understand social interactions well enough.

    ..And I find myself also being really harsh.
    In a way, it’s pretty desesperate.

    • Well if you don’t like power trip fantasies then you aren’t the target audience. Personally I love those kind of things, which probably doesn’t say anything good about my personality but there it is.

      I don’t really see how the friends of the main character being awesome too is a bad thing. Doesn’t it make it less of a “power fantasy”?

    • This is why we need way more shows like OreGairu! Fiction is a great escape for the socially disenfranchised, but people deserve a better class of empathy than this.

  9. I’m happy to hear you enjoyed the piece! And I’m also glad to hear I didn’t “ruin” Mahouka for you – personally, I enjoy plenty of stuff I find questionable in various ways, I just also think it’s important and actually satisfying to also be critical of the things I watch and enjoy. Acknowledging more perspectives doesn’t just help you connect with, understand, and empathize with other people, it also just enriches the way you personally see the world. And seeing how your worldview differs from others is also one of the best ways to come to understand yourself.

  10. Pingback: Narrative Self-Projection and Hypocrisy: Why Suzaku is a Better Character Than Lelouch | Fantastic Memes

  11. Yeah, Mahouka feels like an form of escapism to normal teenagers stuck in their little bubble – its a perfect example of why the anime community is generally looked down upon as obsessed and unsocial geeks.
    Though its odd – the way that Mahouka, on rare occasion, jabs directly at the very people that are likely to enjoy it (like what you wrote at 17:29 on this episode). I think that Mahouka could have actually been a successful parody of the escapism and indulgence it was originally trying to feed to its viewers – an open ridicule of similar shows. I’m not sure how it would turn out – a mix between SAO and Samurai Flamenco, I’d guess. Do you think it would turn out well?

    Also, as a side note, what’s your favorite Ghibli film? My family wants me to introduce them to anime, but I’d like to start with something family-friendly – it doesn’t have to be completely appropriate, but I’d like something that’s just fun to watch (not Lain or Madoka).

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