Are you ready for the darkness?


AntiMagic 1 Img054I was really looking forward to this – so much so that I decided to go with the raws instead of waiting for what seems like a very vague and non-committal simulcast from Crunchyroll. As a light novel reader, I believe that AntiMagic is the best of all three ‘school battle harem’ adaptations that aired this season, and I hope that this first episode has already given an indication of that. I really like the novels – it’s very edgy and a bit cheesy at times, but it tries its best to remove itself from its genre, and maintains a very tense and interesting plot. Even when there was an accidental groping scene this week, Ouka didn’t request a formal duel or ask him to pay with his life or anything stupid like that. And that’s because there was plot to get on with – she has better things to do than store up more emotional baggage for Takeru’s sake. In fact, this focus has been one of Silver Link’s major successes so far. A lot of the fanservice scenes in the first volume have been axed completely, with only the bare minimum remaining – this is one of those rare instances where they’re rushing things for all the right reasons.

AntiMagic is about a firearm-dominated military purging heretical witches in a post-apocalyptic world. I know that sounds way cooler than it seems, but that is what it’s supposed to be about. That military is named Inquisition, and it is the organization Ootori Ouka worked for before being demoted for excessive violence – she was returned to AntiMagic Academy, a training institution for future recruits to Inquisition. Now, she is part of the 35th Test Platoon, one of the many student-led platoons who have been tasked with obtaining Magical Heritages (items with magic imbued into them, and thus deemed dangerous) in return for ‘points’ which they can use to advance to the next year of school. But unfortunately for Ouka, this platoon has a reputation as the ‘Small Fry Platoon’ – a group of problem children with bad personalities who are currently in the running to fail magnificently with a grand total of zero points.

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AntiMagic 1 Img056As you might be able to tell, this is not a happy story. If you are after sunshine and rainbows, you won’t find them here. And there’s a lot of, how do I say this… human injury, even in the first few arcs – these are the milder ones, mind you. Hell, the show itself started with Takeru lying on the ground without the bottom half of his body, and it ended with a dead child on a table with a knife sticking out of it. Yes, that is a hand sticking out of that garbage bin. I was actually surprised to see that there was zero censoring in that scene, by the way – but if they’re going this far, I want to see all the darkness properly. I want it to be so dark that even light can’t escape. I was worried about the direction this anime would take, you see – because a previous manga adaptation of the novels had a massive focus on fanservice, and ended up doing so badly it was cancelled.

AntiMagic 1 Img062So something like Ouka’s outburst of angst at the end was perfect – that’s exactly the kind of atmosphere I want from this. Not oodles of ecchi and fanservice, but instead edgy and twisted people. Ouka is so revenge-driven for the sake of her dead family to the point that she’s basically the Eren of this series – she will shoot witches in cold blood, just because they’re witches. She dreams of killing witches. She dreams of killing them all. Working for Inquisition is the best excuse she can get to massacre as many of them as she can. And that’s why she was even demoted in the first place – because instead of recovering the Magical Heritage like she was ordered to on her mission, she instead prioritized giving the witch who had it a suffering-filled death. As Sougetsu said, killing witches isn’t even the main aim of Inquisition, it’s primarily the recovery of Magical Heritages. If Inquisition was America in the midst of its civil rights conflict, Ouka would be the KKK.

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I found both Takeru and Ouka a pleasure to listen to, especially Takeru. As usual, I was just hoping it wouldn’t be Matsuoka who voiced him, but we basically hit the jackpot with Hosoya Yoshimasa – who has done many rough, manly voices like Wave (Akame ga Kill!), Kojou (Strike the Blood), Daryun (Arslan Senki) or Hyuuga (Kuroko no Basket). Ikaruga and Usagi were both okay, I’m fairly neutral towards both their voices – although I think the episode did a great job of making me like Ikaruga more than I remember the novels doing at this point. I actually thought it ended up rather funny during places, like where there was really bad English or where Takeru tells Ouka it’s okay he grabbed her boob because he was into pettanko anyway. And the Sougetsu entry scene was quite good, even though Sougetsu himself couldn’t be more of a faggot if he tried. Usagi sniping the people in the wrong building for them was just a hilarious fuck-up. I think all the Small Fry Platoon members acting all goofy and ridiculous serves as a nice contrast to the dark setting of the series, it makes it seem more like what it was advertised as.


AntiMagic 1 Img032As for the production values – well, I liked most of the animation. Soumatou in particular was pretty cool, which is that odd power Takeru activated for a split-second to be able to cut bullets – I assume they will explain this in future episodes, so I won’t bother doing that now. I’m honestly not a fan of the character designs though. They do look appropriate at times, but most of the time it feels too ‘soft’ and almost even fluffy, which is kind of wrong for the sort of story this is supposed to have. Takeru didn’t look as angry as I thought he would, for example – the only time he lived up to what I thought he’d be more like was when he went into super edge mode and snapped at people calling his Glorious Nippon Steel a piece of scrap iron. I also felt like they overdid the whole the bouncing boobs aspect, even though both boobs and lolis are a bit of a thing in this series – even sometimes at the same time, like Usagi! I’m not really into Usagi though, I’m more into Lapis. That’s best girl territory, right there.

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So finally, I think it’s important to mention that Silver Link will be adapting almost all of the story as split-cours – 9 volumes in fact, according to the author’s afterword in Volume 10. I’ve never heard of numbers like that before, and it’s an ambitious project as a result. But it’s better than clowning around for a season and never getting anywhere – a lot of Volume 1 was condensed into this first episode, with the fanservice scenes being the biggest victim as I mentioned earlier. If next week finishes off the rest of the volume, then we can proceed at a very brisk pace of two episodes per volume, prioritizing plot and cutting out needless ecchi until the end of Volume 4. I suspect the first season will then end with Volume 5, with a much-deserved 4 episodes given to that instead. If you like a blend of sci-fi and fantasy in a dark setting, with suffering, edgy angst and minor harem and fanservice elements, then this’ll be worth sitting through, I promise. I honestly can’t wait for what it has in store for us.

Possibility of Watching: Guaranteed
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This Post Has 17 Comments

  1. Wanderer

    You seem very interested in this, but frankly it sounds too dark for me. From your descriptions I have no desire to watch it: in fact I’m convinced I would be better off avoiding it entirely.

    1. Vantage

      That’s what makes it exciting! It dresses itself up as a school battle harem, but deviates from the norm – a bit paradoxically, it’s therefore good because it does what a school battle harem doesn’t. And Silver Link are cutting the generic fanservice (which is what a lot of people complain about with genres like this) and creating a plot-heavy adaptation on their own initiative. Imagine that, Silver Link of all studios cutting fanservice – you have to wonder why the thought never crossed their mind with Prisma Illya.

      But yes, it’s dark, and with little to no censoring so if that’s not up your alley you’d be better off skipping this!

  2. Eva

    Welp, looks like I better stay away from this one. Looks like it will be too much for me! SALUTES Enjoy Vantage!

    1. Vantage

      I probably should have told you more about it before it aired, haha. I will!

  3. exof954

    Well, well… I guess I’ll be watching this! I avoided it because I thought it was gonna be MahoukaXSword Art Online all over again, in the worst way possible, but it appears I was mistaken. Thanks for reviewing this!

    1. Vantage

      That’s what I’m here for – to clear up first-sight misconceptions, because I think it’d be a shame if it were overlooked. Whether you then decide to pick it up or not, at least you’re doing so whilst a bit more informed as to what it’s actually about!

  4. zztop

    Considering how dark the source novels are, it’s surprising the author’s afterwords are so quirky and perverted at once.
    Like him praising big boobs, and boobs of all sizes in at least 1 paragraph.

    I remember Kippu, Antimagic’s illustrator, also drew the characters of Nourin, another light novel series that plays out as a more perverted version of Silver Spoon (Arakawa Hiromu’s farming manga).

    1. Vantage

      IKR?! I swear he has a massive fetish for boobs or something, it’s surprising they haven’t played a bigger role in the novels. The irony being that Lapis and Mari are best girls, and both are flat.

      He’d be casually thanking you and hoping you enjoyed the latest novel, then suddenly ‘By the way, is it true that big boobs float on water?!’ Or deviating from the actual content of the afterword to get carried away about how everyone loves big-breasted lolis (and that even if not everyone loves big-breasted lolis, he really loves big-breasted lolis). It’s actually quite unnerving, because I’d usually read the afterword after not having recovered from the latest shock twist, and he’d be like LET’S TALK ABOUT BOOBS NOW!

  5. Noc

    That’s a lot of blood…I was thinking I’d skip this, but you’ve convinced me to check it out after all!

    1. Vantage

      Subs are out under Taimadou Gakuen 35 Shiken Shoutai! Crunchyroll never revealed a date last night, so I was worried it wouldn’t be out for ages. I’m going to go watch it again with subs now 😀

      1. Noc

        No worries, it’s out on CR now. That was an enjoyable first episode, and I really liked the atmosphere! If there was more fanservice I’d have definitely turned away though. I’m losing all tolerance for it these days. Even the boob grab was pushing it, because really- she could have dodged. I thought the general balance between silly and serious was good though (Usagi sniping the wrong building really was hilarious, but her slip-up also helped build tension). The character designs are alright for me, standard if nothing else. None of the characters struck me as terribly special asides from that purple haired girl, but that’s alright- the setup alone will hold me for a few good episodes, so they still have time to make a lasting impression on me.

        1. Vantage

          I wasn’t a fan of that scene either – it’s not even that Ouka could have dodged, it was just unnecessary. Something like that couldn’t be further from the opening minute or so of the episode, which was immediately attention-grabbing. Thankfully, the amount of fanservice generally falls in proportion to the rising amount of darkness.

          I thought the CR subs were pretty mediocre to be honest, it seemed like a pretty rushed job despite the raws already having been out for 24 hours. One example is how they chose not to leave Soumatou as ‘Soumatou’, but instead did a literal translation into ‘Sweeping Magic Blade’, which sounds like something very odd to shout out. It also makes it sound like his sword and the ability itself was magic somehow, when that’s not it at all… because he’s not a witch.

  6. The Traveler (@IWHBYT)

    Count me in!

    I remember being extremely fascinated by Ikaruga and her camera since I haven’t personally watched many anime where someone is fond of capturing video like that (has nothing to do with Charlotte. Didn’t know about it yet and still must watch it). I was particularly interested in what her camera might capture that no one else might notice while on the battlefield!

    So… I definitely didn’t expect the bunny cosplay video session 😛 I can understand why Takeru shed a tear… I also agree that Usagi looks lovely, especially in uniform!

    Anyway, thanks for the hard work with lengthy and insightful write-up for episode one, as well as the insight provided in the current comments! I hope this lives up to your expectations. In fact, I’d say you (and Wanderer, too, if he’s a fan of the LN) all but deserve for this to live to your hype! Silver Link definitely has a lot to make up for…

    SHHH! Shhh… I know it still herz. I know…

    P.S. Glad to hear Shinichiro Miki play another principal-esque position after his role as Master Biblia from Trinity Seven ^_^ Biblia might as well be Sougetsu with some minor changes to suit the style of the antimagic academy! I mean, it’s not like it’s unusual for extremely powerful to swap identities swapping… or dimensions.

    P.P.S. IS LEVI THERE TOO?! I guess… it makes a lot of sense to bring along the ninja-esque mage for covert operations.

    1. Vantage

      Don’t even mention Herz, it’s like triggering war flashbacks

      You should watch Charlotte! I had my reservations with it at times, but it was a good show overall. If you like Levi, you probably like Sakura Ayane, who voiced both her and the female lead in Charlotte. Incidentally, the Levi-like scarf girl here is called Mari, and I am proud to say that she is a great best girl candidate!

      Sougetsu sounded good, I was unsure at first but Miki did a very good job. A few other VAs to look forward to in this series actually – Anzai Chika (who did Chaika, and Reina from Euphonium) as well as Nakata Jouji (who of course did Kotomine Kirei).

      1. The Traveler (@IWHBYT)

        I think the only appropriate response to this insight is: REJOICE!

    1. Vantage


      Thank you! Not sure if we found the same thing, but I didn’t know they did stuff like that! I’m going to be mildly optimistic, as both the animation and music seem pretty good! As for any novel readers also reading this:

      [spoiler] Ouka’s Tepes Rain looks nice! But why does Witch Hunter form look like God Hunter form? What are they going to do when God Hunter form happens? I didn’t think Takeru would have his full face covered – I checked the manga for the first time just now, and it’s a lot less flashy there. [/spoiler]

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