Anti-Magic Academy: The 35th Test Platoon is a show about the 35th Test Platoon at the Anti-Magic Academy, surprisingly enough. In a world where magic exists (and most people would prefer it didn’t) the Anti-Magic Academy teaches youngsters to become Witch Hunters: specially trained fighters who are given the tools and teachings to capture and defeat those who use – and abuse – magic.
Students at this school are broken into ‘Test Platoons’ which are essentially class groups that work together and train together. The school seems almost more like a work study, as they don’t seem to actually attend class so much as get sent out on dangerous missions to earn ‘points’ that serve no purpose that I was ever able to determine.
But enough about that… the 35th Test Platoon is a group of social misfits who are consistently the lowest ranked… so much so that they’re given the ‘endearing’ title of the ‘Small Fry Platoon’. These miscreants are our core cast.
These characters are all eccentric, with absurd character flaws and strange personalities. Normally, I wouldn’t say that as a negative aspect because the oddities typically make the characters more endearing. In this case, it just made them seem contrived. It also doesn’t help that they all fall instantly and passionately in love with our main character Takeru, even before they have reason to. The show does comprise situations that could feasibly cause someone to develop affection for the protagonist, but they can’t wait that long. They’ve gotta fall for him nice and early. The only exception is the female lead Ouka, who is our resident tsundere and doesn’t fall for him until their big contrived character moment.
There are a few upsides to this though… by having a relatively small cast, they were able to spend some time developing these characters. This did lead to a few rather interesting moments where you got a real understanding for why these characters are who they are. The downside? Often these ‘character developments’ were forgotten the next episode and never resurfaced. One character got like super powerful for a bit… but then went back to being completely normal with little to no explanation for why. There is also some fantastic humour present, scattered amidst the overblown harem content. The relationship between Takeru and his weapon Lapis, in particular, is quite amusing.
On the subject of his weapon… this does lead us into the one relatively bright spot. There are some really top notch action sequences in this show. The fighting is dynamic and engaging, and rarely completely one-sided. I enjoyed the dynamic between the ‘Relic Eaters’ – sentient weapons enchanted and aimed primarily at counteracting Witches – and their wielders. You get these differing personalities, these distinct styles, and their powers… and then they’re fighting against powerful Witches who have their own distinct personalities and powers. It is entertaining and very satisfying to watch.
The one other thing I really wanted to note… the ending was a huge letdown. You get this buildup around this potentially tragic event that could end badly in several different ways, and it just sort of fizzles. You end up with a really disappointing climax that just left me with a feeling of ‘really?’ and it’s hard to really feel satisfied at the end of it all.
And I think that’s a pretty good way to sum everything up. There are a lot of interesting concepts, storylines, and themes… and while sometimes these have great buildup, they rarely culminate into anything fantastic long-term. But if you want something with some fun action to watch and not really take too seriously, this might be a good show to fill a few hours.