Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei: Raihousha-hen | First Impressions

Alright! Now it is time for my long awaited “First Impressions” on the second season of Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei, Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei: Raihousha-hen. If you’ve been following me and my journey to try and stay up-to-date with the anime, then you’d know by now that the first season is what made this anime one of my favourite anime. I remember everything so well, back when it was airing during 2014. Every year after 2014, I’ve waited patiently for a second season. This was when the studio in question Madhouse wildly known as the anime studio that refuses to animate sequels to their most popular anime. Times have changed since then, they’re starting to warm up to the idea of creating sequels. However, the Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei series is now under a different animation studio 8bit.

I never thought that I was going to get another season to an anime that I really, really enjoyed and loved. So when I found out that yes, Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei I was extremely hyped. That also meant that the expectations I had for the second season were at an all-time high. Then 2020 happened and ravaged everyone’s world. We’re now living in a world where delays are expected, this was the case for the anime world too. With studios being closed for long durations, large gatherings being kept to a minimum, lockdowns happening all over the world. Anime releases got pushed back and the team that worked on those anime was significantly reduced with a lot of work, I assume, being done remotely. But deadlines are deadlines and you must meet them or risk losing more money.

Long story short, here we are, roughly 6 years later, the sequel to Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei, Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei: Raihousha-hen. So what are my thoughts about this anime? Well, like I’ve mentioned already, high expectations were put on this anime by myself. Those high expectations I think killed the second season for me, because I expected too much (I am currently 5 episodes in), the second season as a whole hasn’t lived up to my expectations nor to the hype that surrounded this anime.

While we retain the same characters and voice actors, along with the new introduction of Lina (Angelina “Lina, Angie Sirius” Kudou Shields). Whose personality resembles that of a typical tsundere, I don’t think her role as one of the main characters of the new season is significant enough to play any sort of role for the anime. Instead, her role and value to the anime, I think is diminished by the fact that she’s given the stereotypical tsundere personality and that she’s almost always overshadowed by the big elephant in the room, Tatsuya. Often times throughout the anime, she’s interacting with him in one way or another, whether that be through an action scene or through conversation. Every time this is the case, Tatsuya’s ‘god-like’ aura is all encompassing and overshadows whatever impact she was supposed to have simply because Tatsuya can do everything Lina can do, but better.

Another thing that was a major turn off for me was the irregularities in character design. The first few episodes were prime examples. The irregularities of Tatsuya’s character design as well as Miyuki’s is made blatantly obvious. When the two stars of the show are drawn in different ways, when they are not consistent from scene to scene, I think any normal viewer of the show will be able to make out the differences. To me that isn’t great at all. Now obviously as this is an abnormal year, there was always going to be something wrong. I’ll give them (8bit) the benefit of the doubt on that one. There also was the scene where they (Tatsuya, Miyuki and company), were visiting Leo in the hospital after the late night ambush by the parasites. This scene in particular sticks out at me, I’ve also mentioned why in my episode review, but anyway, the scene itself was a still shot of Leo in the bed, his mouth not moving, but at the same time speaking on the events that led to him being hospitalized. Those types of things, I feel shouldn’t have happened, I believe it should have been caught. But ya’know stuff happens.

Furthermore, another thing I’ve voiced my displeasure about was… the pacing of the anime! Ah yes, this is probably my biggest issue I have with. Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei: Raihousha-hen. If we were to compare this season to it’s predecessor, half the episodes, which means half as much time to get the same amount of information in. So what do they do? They cram everything thing as much as possible and try to jump forward in time as much as possible to cover whatever material they decided to adapt. This has many problems, but this is more-or-less the problem with thirteen episode adaptations. You’re bound to miss things that ultimately add to the overall story that is being told. You’ll get rushed character development, as shown by Lina. The main cast find out who she is by like episode three. You’re also presented with the antagonist, whose reason for existing is so complicated within the scope of the anime, that it literally takes two episodes of continuous conversation between the characters to figure out who and what the antagonist is.

Not too mention, with a rushed storyline, you also get immediate problem solving. Which works against the anime as a whole because there is no gradual gathering of information over a period of episodes to reach a conclusion. When you have something as complicated as the one presented in Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei: Raihousha-hen with this ‘parasite’ deal, I think a gradual build up to ultimately finding out what this parasite was would have benefited the anime. Instead, the main cast figures out that the antagonist was infected by some sort of ‘parasite’ or deemed a ‘vampire’ by episode two or three. With the textbook of its origins being thrown at us in the episodes following. That is too much information at all once, the whole problem solving aspect of Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei: Raihousha-hen happened too quickly; and to me that sucked out all the real enjoyment out of the anime because you’re not on that gradual learning adventure with the characters (something we had last season). Instead you’re immediately thrust into the action, expected to follow along as everything comes at you at a high rate of speed. There is no enjoyment of that.

So what are my thoughts on the anime thus far? It really is a mixed bag. However, I am leaning more towards this anime being more of a disappointment than anything else. A lot of hype was built up, a lot of excitement and anticipation, only to be let down.