The Irregular at Magic High School Set 2 Blu-ray review

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By Xchel Monroy

Magic and science: it’s something that you don’t encounter very often in anime. The Irregular at Magic High School (also known as Mahōka) is one of those series that can mix those two subjects together and does it very well. This anime comes from the light novel written by  Tsutomu Sato, who also has worked on the manga DOWL Masters. The Irregular at Magic High School Set 2 Blu-ray set includes episodes 8-18 of the series on three discs.

Story

Set after the Blanche groups attack on the First High School, with its primary goal to obtain certain classified magic information. Our main protagonist is Tatsuya Shiba with his sibling, Miyuki Shiba. Both siblings are trying to move on after the incident and back to their regular lives in high school. However, in this season of the anime, they begin setting up for the nine schools’ games. Tatsuya Shiba has been picked out to be the CDA engineer. He feels uneasy about the fact that he is being selected for this position. Nonetheless, the selfless Tatsuya accepts the task. Most of the school committee is against him taking this position. Once at the meeting, he then is asked to show his skills after a bit of deliberation between Katsuto Jymonji, class representative Mayumi Saegus and the head of the public morale committee, Mari Watanabe. He later demonstrates his skill by using the old CAD (Casting Assistance Device) technology in combination with the modern CAD tech. As testing resumes, he proves to them that he has skills to make improvements on the devices just in time for the nine schools competition. As the series continues, we come to the realization that Tatsuya Shiba is not as dumb as he looks and he is not who he says he is. He seems to be working for an unknown military service. His real name is revealed in this season. You must watch for you to find out; it is well worth it.

This anime has really had a very subpar story at first. Watching the second season of this series on Blu-ray, I noticed a vast improvement on scene selections, video quality and sound. This anime has done it justice when it comes to video quality presented in 1080p. In comparison to the last Blu-ray release, the features improved such as CGI animation, clear and crisp imagery and overall great episode and action sequences. It clearly shows that the animators behind this series took their time to make every scene look clean and well-detailed (which in some cases in anime nowadays is hard to come by). One thing that stood out was the computer animation; solid and fluid yet easy to see what was going on. It made following the story and action sequences very coherent. The audio in this series has been improved but still the same overall. Not only are the voices very clear and easy to understand, but you can also hear the music, and in many action-based anime like this, it just makes the experience much more enjoyable.

Movie and Audio Rating:  4/5 atoms  

4 Atoms

Packaging

While this packaging may look the same as any other, this is particularly different. On the outside cover, you notice a matte finish. This not only makes it unique, it stands out from other types. The whole package looks like a valuable piece of art itself: from its light shading to its soft textures on each character. It truly has a “moe” feel to it which makes you appreciate the work of Kana Ishida. This Blu-ray also includes some great features that I thought added to its already impressive cover.

This contains 3 Blu-ray discs that cover all of season 2. Both sides of the box set have illustrations from Kana Ishida. Honoka Mitsui and Shizuku Kitayama grace the front in a back-to-back pose. It sort of has a “magical girl” feel to it. On the opposite side, we have Mikihiko Yoshida and Mizuki Shibata. They are both standing similarly close to each other that can resemble, to each of them, a liking for each other

This has textless opening and ending themes and it has 2 short episodes called “Get to Know Magic Studies”. This was a great addition: it reminded me of the shorts of many video games that gives comic relief to a serious anime like this. There are episodes 4-5 in this series, something to look forward to once you are done with watching the anime. This also came with small little booklets and pinup cards of the series. The pinup cards look good as ever. There are different pairings in each one. We have Mikihiko Yoshida with Mizuki Shibata and two new characters from the third high school: Masaki Ichijo and Shinkuro Kichijoji. The booklet contains mini-character bios of the series, new and old. There is a part in the booklet called “Tell me, author Sato”. This was also included in the previous Blu-ray set. I’ll have to admit this was refreshing seeing it a second time around. Not often that an author takes the time to answer questions from his fans consistently.

Packaging and extras grade: 4.5 out of 5 atoms

NR 4_5 Atoms - A-

IMG_4274Final Reaction

When the anime debuted  back in 2014, there weren’t a lot of people who were very excited about another magic/science anime series. Most of the time, series like this tend to lack the story and character development to keep you interested. The Irregular at Magic High School; however, is one of those exceptions. Sure, it does feature your typical fanservice scenes and has many scenes that tend to over-exaggerate on how close Miyuki and Tatsuya get, especially when Myuki shows signs of jealousy, but that tends to be part of its charm and keeps you interested in what’s going to happen next.

The biggest issue with the set is the price, which is currently available at rightstuf.com for $109.98. It’s pretty pricey for 11 episodes on 3 Blu-ray discs. The quality is definitely there, but I don’t think I could justify spending so much money for just that.

Rating: 4.5/5 atoms

NR 4_5 Atoms - A-

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