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Irregular at Magic High School Vol. #01 Novel Review

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The Irregular at Magic High School Light Novel 1 CoverMagic cannot save the readers from the prose of Sato.

Creative Staff:
Story: Tsutomu Sato
Art: Kana Ishida

What They Say:
The year is 2095. Magic has been tamed as another form of technology, and the practice of magic is now a rigorous discipline. Brother and sister Tatsuya and Miyuki Shiba are just about to start their first year at the renowned First Magic High School of Japan. But the school’s ironclad rules mean that the brilliant Miyuki enters the prestigious Course 1, while her older brother, Tatsuya, is relegated to Course 2–and that’s just the beginning of their troubles!

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
One of the more anticipated light novels that Yen press will release, the Irregular at Magic High School. This story, known to capture a lot of people’s hearts, relies on the first major work done by Tsutomu Sato. With Sato’s vision for the series, we can view a scenario that creates an interesting world that can capture many people with his prose. Instead, this prose bogs down the series to a crawl and makes the reading experience harder to enjoy.

The story for The Irregular at Magic High School in itself is fairly basic. We have a young hero Tatsyua Shiba entering high school with his sister Miyuki. Him being in the Weeds, a second tier class for students at Magic High School, and his sister being in the Blooms, the first tier class for students. The little treats in the system allowed the scenario to happen where the hero is older but because of scheduling has to wait until the same time as a sister. From there we get the more of the hero being in the lower-ranking area but using hard work and his talent shows off to certain select people that he’s actually really good at what he does.

The archetype in itself is decent. At least allow some familiarity but also allows us to explore some the areas of magic that can make it more interesting. For instance, learning about how magic is a more technical aspect then just a regular caste system. It makes the world more interesting and also gives us a sense of how people create new weapons that will then harness their abilities and those create more spectacles for the readers. That shows promise for the series. However, what does show initial problems for the series is Sato’s prose where it actively harms the overall flow of the story.

At times, it feels as if Sato’s trying to actively stall his readers with his prose. Often times he opts with info dumping in the first volume, taking his time to describe the CAD system or even the modern day life. Instead of letting characters talk about it and working through it, he doesn’t trust the characters and more important the readers, to learn about it. It at times creates a frustrating halt to the story and will leave some readers bored. These feelings transition to points of actions as well.

Sato’s prose also hurts his communication for action. However, the writing don’t feel truly kinetic for action. Rather, it feels more of pushing through traffic, where each build up takes a long time to get there. Sato takes his time to set up the scenario for the fight but often times it takes to too long to have the setting placed. By the time the action starts and tries to become entertaining, many readers may simply want to rush out and transition to the next part. It often times makes the scenario anything but action.

Kana Ishidia’s art is not bad. The artwork seems to be decently well drawn and with a lack of errors. However the images that are being detailed aren’t necessarily all that useful. For a lot of them they just have glances that, at best, seem like they’re trying to avoid to do more details but bring readers into the world in a manga style. However, at worst, it panders to otaku to entertain them where one example in particular is a particular image dedicated to a scantily clad woman. It’s a bit disappointing since the work could enhance the story but in reality does nothing to increase or decrease the worth.

In Summary:
The Irregular at Magic High School start off unevenly. While it has certain characters that are interesting, a lot of the prose restricts the story from being truly expressed. Instead of memorable characters or interesting takes in the story, we do see is a sense of generic characters with an intriguing system covered in the mask of wordiness and detail that many times feels irrelevant and unnecessary. Sato’s inability to communicate to readers in an efficient way does not allow a good lift to start the series off right. The good news is is that he has multiple different volumes to figure this out. The bad news is is that for many people that may be interested in the series, they may just have to grind through the text in order to find out what interest in them. If they don’t, they may miss out on this novel or otherwise just put it down and never pick it up again.

Grade: C

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date:April 19th, 2016
MSRP: $13.99