This review contains a minor spoiler in the fifth paragraph about the main characters abilities.

Irregular at Magic Highschool is probably the most infuriatingly incompetent anime I have ever had the displeasure of witnessing. Do not watch this. Just save yourself the pain and don't. Writing, story, characters, plot, animation, sound, every single part of this anime is mediocre to average, barely scraping an acceptable pass or failing entirely due to its sheer lack of trying.

Pretty much all that happens in the story is this, but three times: Some random terrorist organization with no clear or sensible motive that is set up as bad because they want to shoot people or whatever makes a stupid move to piss off the main character. Main character strolls in and kills or captures everyone without any difficulties because he is a god, end plot arc. Riveting stuff, truly. Not even kidding, this same plot happens three times, with very minor variations in scenario. And yet, the presentation of this story somehow still manages to be janky and weird even with how basic it is. I often found myself confused as to why I was even being shown something. Many scenes could simply be removed and nothing would change, due to being completely pointless or introduced in such a confusing way or way too early so that you forget about them by the time they are relevant. If the story wasn't already lacking anything compelling, the writing is something a tenth grader could write, causing actions that are meant to make me care more about the story or characters to fall completely flat.

Well, what if you want to watch for the characters? It's simple really, don't. Almost all of the characters, dare I say maybe even every single one, are forgettable and bland basic characters that have been boiled down to one or two simple personality traits, along with no character development throughout the entire runtime. None of the characters changed from episode one to the last episode in any meaningful way, they're all exactly the same. This is partly due to trying to handle too many characters, many got barely any screen time to the point where you almost forget they exist. The main character is the worst of them all, the writers were clearly trying so god damn hard to make him the most badass character ever, giving him way too many abilities, taking away his emotions so he seems cooler, and writing in a bunch of cheesy lines.

Interested in the lore and universe? Don't watch for that either. The backstory makes barely any sense when scrutinized, as no explanation is given for any of the presented history and it doesn't hold up much to common sense. The world is pretty much just modern day, even though it's eighty years in the future with magicians, plenty of what is shown could be made today or is made today, this problem being especially prevalent in the beginning of the anime. But don't even get me started on the magic system itself. Every time they introduce a new spell or element they try and explain how it works, great right? Except every single explanation in this godforsaken anime is a bunch of technobabble nonsense using made up words that are never clearly defined. It took me approximately fifteen episodes to even have an elementary grasp of the simplest and most vital of the terms they use to explain every other phenomenon. Even then it's only a rudimentary understanding that still leaves you with no actual comprehension if you stop for even two seconds to try and figure out how any of this magic actually works. This is a huge over-arching theme with the explanations in Irregular at Magic, is that every single one is missing some huge key point that fits it all together, but without this piece, it all is just nonsense babbling filling the time slot. This is never fixed in any of the twenty-six episodes.

Another huge problem is how there is never any tension in the plot, as every situation is dealt with by some new ability of the main character that we haven't seen until now. And every time it happens, every other character is shocked because it is some top secret military tech or some new tech created by the main character. They then give one of those infamous technobabble explanations that don't really help you understand anything at all then move on. What makes the lack of tension or stakes even worse is that the enemies they face are almost all idiots, especially in the first half of the anime. Anyone who is not on the side of the main cast instantly loses about fifty IQ points. As well as that, anything that is thrown at the main cast is handled with extreme ease. Guns, mechs, tanks, bombs, everything is dealt with as if it was a marble thrown by a toddler. What is even worse is that by the ending episodes it has devolved to the point where even if a character were to die it isn't a big deal because we can literally just regenerate them instantly. Where are the stakes at that point? The most egregious part, and I cannot stress this enough, is how over-powered the main character is. He has so much power he is on the level of a god. I cannot comprehend a situation in which he would ever be defeated, apart from possibly, maybe being sabotaged, somehow. What do you even do when your character is so powerful that there is not a single scenario I can foresee where he would ever be defeated? There are simply no stakes at all by the time you know the full extent of his powers. Even before he starts using the full extent, he can still bring down almost anyone he wishes while barely trying.

On top of all the other terrible factors, the animation is simple and basic, the absolute minimum that is acceptable to look at all decent. It only barely scrapes by as looking okay, with the barest of movements for characters to look alive, even at the peak moments of the story. They also made the terrible decision to employ 3D CG throughout some of the more difficult scenes, and while I can handle a little use of 3D in the right places, they go overboard here. There is some truly terrible CG, but the true sin is how they went and used it for a major portion of the final few episodes, making what I assume are meant to be formidable mechs and interesting fight scenes look laughable.

Audio work is also barely passable. The opening is extremely average and nothing new or special at all, and the background music often just sounds like a bunch of crap being mashed together. Need it to sound techy? Add in a bunch of annoying computer-sounding bleeps. Sports event? Add in some whistles or something who cares even at this point. There was never once a piece of music or sound work that actually stood out at all. It was all just passing.

The entirety of Irregular at Magic Highschool is the definition of aiming for a passing grade and not going any further. If you stripped the entire anime down to the most bare-bones form, then fleshed it out with good content, it would be fine. But that isn't saying much as, instead, we are dealing with this trash heap. Everything combines to create a boring, generic, brainless piece of nonsense. There is not a single thing I can find to praise. Save yourself the time, and watch something better.

20 /100
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