Anti-Magic Academy: The 35th Test Platoon
I discovered this anime yesterday, and my first thoughts before watching it was that it was going to be an over-the-top school harem. After finishing the first episode I feel pretty vindicated in my initial assessment, however there may be a slightly deeper story here than I was anticipating. Sure there are the standard school anime themes in this first episode, but the underlying supernatural elements and sometimes serious ambiance gives the impression that there is more than meets the eyes here. Of course for all you know this could just be me blowing smoke up your ass for the word count, so don’t take my word for it watch the ani- I mean read the rest of my first impression. Yes, do that second thing first.
We open “Anti-Magic Academy” with the cast all seemingly defeated after a battle, and our protagonist lamenting his immanent death. Flash back in time, and we see that the same protagonist (Takeru Kusanagi) is a point of mockery at his school due to his affinity to samurai swords. His platoon (the 35th test platoon) is equally mocked for their sub par performance. Takeru walks into his platoon’s headquarters only to find his mechanic (Ikaruga Suginami) has dressed up his sniper (Usagi Saionji) in a bunny girl outfit. When he walks in on their little photo session, Usagi attacks Takeru in a fit of tsundere embarrassment. With comrades like this it is no wonder why the 35th is a point of ridicule.
Meanwhile another student (Ouka Ohtori) is being chastised for killing someone during a mission. Students at this school train to be inquisitors, and inquisitors arrest witches and confiscate magic items. Ouka is ahead of her year in already being an inquisitor, but her overzealous nature lead her to take a life during a mission. She is demoted back to her year, and sent to the 35th Test Platoon. Takeru and the 35th have their first mission with their new teammate shortly thereafter. In typical 35th fashion though, they begin to bungle the mission right as they start. It is here we learn that Usagi does not perform well as a sniper under pressure, but Takeru becomes a beast with the sword when he is taunted about using a sword against guns. Due to the rule against killing the criminals though, Takeru is forced to reign in his fighting spirit. Ouka complete’s the mission practically single handed, and announces her intention to work solo form then on.
In order to get Ouka back into the team, the group tries to have a welcome party for Ouka. Ouka predictably gives them the cold shoulder, claiming that she didn’t join the Anit-Magic Academy to have parties. On her way out Takeru notices that there is a large gash on her arm, and he peruses her to ask her about it. Through some fast talking Takeru is able to convince Ouka to take him along on her next mission, and the two end up raiding a warehouse together. Inside the two incapacitate the guards before making a grim discovery of several dead bodies, seemingly sacrificed for some magic purposes. Enraged Ouka pulls out her pistol and kneecaps a guard, proclaiming her will to kill all withes and magic dealers. Takeru stops her, claiming that he wont give up on trying to become her comrade. The episode ends with a witch standing on the warehouse, uttering the name Takeru Kusanagi.
Its definitely not an anime that’s going to blow minds and shake worlds, but overall not a terrible start for a school anime. The different characters are straight out of the anime 101 stock of character archetypes, and the storyline is as well. Still the concept of death in a show like this is intriguing, and the dramatic tones set by the death can’t be overlooked by the anime viewing public. I know that it’s probable that “Anti-Magic Academy” will drop the tragic scenes in favor of “team building” scenes soon, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility for the story to return gritty story I enjoyed at the end of this episode. After all the opening scene was nothing if not grim foreshadowing of future defeat for our stalwart heroes.
I wouldn’t call the animation quality amazing, but it did the job without too many still portions. The major complaint I would levy against this show is that the main character feels a bit boring. Sure when his precious sword is mocked he can cut bullets in half, but the rest of the time he is “stock anime protagonist 101” who is way too over apologetic for his own good. It makes sense that Takeru is forgettable though, since these shows tend to focus more on the female characters than the male ones. I’m sure he’ll tie the team of girls together through “the power of friends ship”, or some such nonsense. Maybe he’ll grow on me as the season progresses, but as of now he might be my least favorite protagonists this season. Don’t quote me on that yet though.
Mediocre main character notwithstanding I did like this first episode, and I’m reasonably certain I’ll be keeping up with “Anti-Magic Academy”. Who wouldn’t want to follow a show with a literal tsundere sniper after all? Crunchyroll has this title if you’re interested in watching it, or you can follow The BrOtaku’s social media pages to catch the TLDR of every episode. This makes the third school anime that I plan to watch to the end this season. I don’t count “Owarimonogatari” in that list, because the Monogatari series is a genre unto itself. Still it speaks to either the withering of my tastes, or the increase in school anime quality. I’ll leave it up to you to decide which it is.
Arigatō my fellow BrOtaku!