Magical Warfare is an anime about a parallel Earth where magic once existed… and in the aftermath of a huge war between mages the world was split into two worlds: the Living World and the Ruined World. The Living World is the world that humans know today, and it is kept mostly free of magic by a powerful enchantment known as ‘The Gift’ which prevents magicians from using their powers on each other there. Everyone in this world has the potential to use magic, but the residents of the Living World are unable to tap into it until a magician uses magic near them. This show is being reviewed based off of up to the seventh episode, when the first ‘arc’ ends.
Enter Takeshi Nanase, our protagonist. He is a student with a somewhat unpleasant home life who seems to be a bit of a prodigy at kendo. After meeting our female lead, Aiba Mui, he becomes a magician entirely by accident. The first arc of Magical Warfare focuses almost entirely on these two characters. There is a cast of supporting characters, most notably Takeshi’s friends Kurumi and Kazumi – who also became magicians and join him in the Ruined World to learn magic at Subaru Magic Academy, but they have thus far mostly served as tools for developing Takeshi and Aiba’s personalities and understanding Takeshi’s past.
I hope this changes, because while I do like Takeshi and Aiba as characters, they seem to be a bit too one-dimensional so far to carry a show for very long. It isn’t really a problem for the first arc though since they have so much to establish about the world. And it is quite an interesting world. On the surface, it appears to be an almost stereotypical good versus evil story taking place in a world hidden from the eyes of humanity… but there’s clearly something beneath that surface. And it is that something that makes me so interested in seeing what is to come. I’m looking forward to the dark twist that you can clearly tell is coming, although it is still unclear what that twist will be.
There is one recurring pattern that is somewhat disturbing. In Magical Warfare, if you have a family… inevitably they are evil or there’s something wrong with them. Thus far every character whose family we’ve been introduced to has had problems. Takeshi’s brother clearly hates him and there’s definite coldness between his mother and him. And then there’s Aiba’s brother, who is brainwashed by the bad guys and is evil because of it. Basically, the message I’m getting from this show is simple: Family sucks, especially if you’re a magician.
Thus far there has been a limited amount of action in the show. The magic that has been showcased has, for the most part, been very diminutive stuff. Every so often there’s a hint of something more, but for the most part we just get to see the basic stuff. I suspect that this, too, will change and is just a symptom of our main characters being so inexperienced at this point in time.
Overall, this first arc feels a lot like the calm before the storm. You’re getting the typical character, setting, and plot established… and little else. It’s not the most effective intro, but it shows enough promise thanks to keep me interested enough to want to come back and watch more, in hopes that it lives up to that promise.