The irregular at magic high school – Vol. 2: Nine Schools Competition (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)
September 18, 2015 by Dennis Amith
“The irregular at magic high school – Vol. 2: Nine Schools Competition” Blu-ray release features a storyline that gets better and better. And with this latest arc, we get to see powerful individuals from other schools take on Tatsuya, Miyuki and others from First High School, but also Tatsuya having to prepare for an unknown threat against his teammates, but most importantly, since his sister is the primary target. Captivating, exciting and all-out awesome! “The irregular at magic high school” is recommended!
Image courtesy of © 2013 Tsutomu Sato. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: The irregular at magic high school – Vol. 2: Nine Schools Competition
DURATION: Episodes 8-18 (275 Minutes)
BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 4×3 Native Aspect Ratio, English and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, Subtitles: English
RATED: Suggested 13 and up
Release Date: September, 2015
Original Creator: Tsutomu Satou
Original Character Design by Kana Ishida
Director: Manabu Ono
Script by Yukie Sugawara
Music by Taku Iwasaki
Character Design: Kana Ishida
Art Director: Rie Ota
Director of Photography: Yuuki Kawashita
Anime Production: MADHOUSE
Featuring the following voice talent:
Saori Hayami as Miyuki Shiba
Yūichi Nakamura as Tatsuya Shiba
Atsushi Tamaru as Mikihiko Yoshida
Ayumu Murase as Shinkurō Kichōji
Chiwa Saito as Maya Yotsuba
Haruka Tomatsu as Sayaka Mibu
Junichi Suwabe as Katsuto Jūmonji
Kana Hanazawa as Mayumi Saegusa
Koji Yusa as Zhou Gongjin
Mai Nakahara as Suzune Ichihara
Marina Inoue as Mari Watanabe
Ryohei Kimura as Hanzō Hattorigyōbushōjō
Saki Ogasawara as Azusa Nakajō
Sakura Tange as Haruka Ono
Saori Ōnishi as Kanon Chiyoda
Satomi Satou as Mizuki Shibata
Sōma Saitō as Kei Isori
Sora Amamiya as Honoka Mitsui
Takuma Terashima as Leonhart Saijo
Tomokazu Sugita as Takeaki Kirihara
Toru Ohkawa as Harunobu Kazama
Yoshitsugu Matsuoka as Masaki Ichijō
Yuiko Tatsumi as Shizuku Kitayama
Yumi Uchiyama as Erika Chiba
The seasons have turned to summer and the story enters the next chapter. The National Magic High School Goodwill Magic Game Convention (a.k.a. the “Nine Schools Competition”) is just around the corner. The young elites of all the nation’s magic high schools are ready to demonstrate their skills in the name of their pride.
Miyuki, a Course 1 student, is chosen as one of the representative athletes to compete for First High School’s prestige. Tatsuya, being a Course 2 student, knew better than anyone else that he would have no involvement in such an esteemed event as the “Nine Schools Competition.” However, to everyone’s surprise, he is actually nominated to represent First High School as the team’s engineer. It is unprecedented for a Course 2 student to compete in the tournament, and naturally the whole school is thrown into an uproar.
Students of First High School are all ready for their third consecutive victory, while the other magic high schools are not about to easily hand it over. With the students’ various expectations, the battle between the young magicians will soon begin…
The next arc known as “Nine Schools Competition” has begun for the hit anime series “The irregular at magic high school” and this time, First High School will now pit it’s best team members to participate in the inter-school sporting event.
With Tatsuya being recognized for his skills at special magic tuning, he is voted into the Engineering squad and also creates a flying CAD device.
But as the team is preparing for the “Nine Schools Competition”, someone is trying to kill the team.
Meanwhile, can the First High students defeat the Third High School team led by the talented first class magician Masaki Ichijo a.k.a. “The Crimson Prince” and Shinkuro Kichijoji “Cardinal George”?
Find out in the latest arc for “The irregular at magic high school – Vol. 2: Nine School Competition” available on Blu-ray courtesy of Aniplex.
What is “The irregular at magic high school” about?
In 2011, Tsutomu Sato and illustrator Kana Ishida created the Japanese light novel “Mahoka Koko no Rettosei” (The irregular at magic high school).
Since then, 16 novels have been published via ASCII Media Works including five manga adaptations by Ascii Media Works and Square Enix. Including two video games and a 26-episode animated series in 2014.
The animated series was released in the United States courtesy of Aniplex, Inc. with the first Blu-ray volume featuring the first seven episodes.
“The irregular at magic high school” is set during a time where magic has been utilized as technology for nearly a century. Those who are gifted with magical abilities can cast spells using a CAD (Casting Assistant Device) and is infused with psions, a substanceless particle and psychic phenomenon.
In the year 2095, Tatsuya Shiba and his younger sister Miyuki Shiba are enrolled at the Private Magic University Affiliated High School, where students are ranked according to their test scores. Those who rank higher in practical magic ability are put on priority and are enrolled in course 1, while those with lower practical magic test scores are enrolled in course 2.
While Tatsuya scored the highest in written/theoretical portion of the exam, he scored poorly in practical magic, so he is in course 2, while Miyuki is in course 1 because of her high scores, and also selected to be the first year representative because of her high ranking score on the exam.
Miyuki is overprotective of her brother and has a little crush on him as well. So, it hurts her when she sees him being picked on because he is in Course 2 (the Course 1 students look at Course 2 students as “weeds”).
But because Tatsuya undergoes shinobi training, his fighting skills are top-notched.
At school, the two befriend Course 2’s Erika Chiba (the youngest daughter of the Chiba Family, known for their swordsmanship), Course 2’s Mizuki Shibata (has the ability to see Spirit Particle emissions) and Course 2’s Leonhard Saijo (his grandfather was a German Fortress Series magician).
One day, Tatsuya and his friends are bullied by Course 1 students and despite Miyuki being angered by her classmates, Tatsuya tries to calm her down and take in the bullying. But when one challenges Tatsuya to a fight, his skills catch the attention of the Student Council and Public Morals Committee because of his ability to read activation sequences in real time.
Tatsuya becomes the first Course 2 student to be nominated in the Public Morals committee (also to help diffuse the prejudice against Course 2 students).
As a representative of the Public Morals Committee at the high school, Tatsuya must now enforce the law in school, meanwhile having to deal with Course 1 students prejudice towards Course 2 students.
As the first arc was featured in the first volume, the second volume features the “Nine Schools Competition” arc and both Tatsuya and his sister Miyuki will be among the few competitors to face off against other top tier teams from different high schools.
But as the two prepare for the challenges await them, outside of the school is an organization that is intent of destroying First High School’s chance of winning, but most importantly, targeting Miyuki for death.
“The irregular at magic high school” is presented in 1080p High Definition. Madhouse has done a wonderful job with this animated TV series. Where a lot of TV series don’t get the special treatment of excessive background art or attention to detail (due to deadlines and budget), it’s evident that a lot of time is put into the creation of “The irregular at magic high school”.
Characters are well-shaded with attention to detail on the characters faces, clothing but the background art is heavily detailed.
The color palette is vibrant, I saw no major banding issues or artifacts. If anything, “The irregular at magic high school” looks fantastic in HD!
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
While I wish that the lossless audio for “The irregular at magic high school”, like most TV series released in Japan, they are presented in stereo and the same can be said for the lossless audio on the Blu-ray release. The lossless audio is presented in Japanese linear PCM stereo but dialogue is crystal clear through the front channels. Although for those with receivers that can pump out audio on all channels, then you should be fine with that if you want something a bit more immersive. It’s important to emphasize that there are no English dubs on this Blu-ray release.
“The irregular at magic high school – Vol. 2: Nine Schools Competition” comes with the Get to Know Magic Studies! Shorts #4-5, Textless Opening 2, Textless Ending 1.
“The irregular at magic high school – Vol. 2: Nine Schools Competition” comes with a Blu-ray slipcase, four collectible pin-ups illustrated by Kana Ishida (character designer) and a special 24-page booklet with episode synopsis and more.
Possibly one of the better anime series to be released on Blu-ray in 2015 for North America, for anime fans clamoring for something original, exciting and entertaining, will no doubt enjoy MADHOUSE’s “The irregular at magic high school”.
Where the series could have gone the banal route of students going against the government storyline, what we have is a school in which magic users are divided into different courses and leads to a somewhat difficult environment as the Course 1 students look at themselves as elite and the Course 2 students are nothing but “weeds”.
That is until Tatsuya Shiba enrolls with his sister to the Magic University Affiliated High School and with his calm demeanor, you realized that despite failing his practical magic exam, he’s not a person to look down upon because chances are, he can easily take on and defeat a Course 1 student.
And now with this latest “Nine Schools Competition” arc, a lot of things have changed for Tatsuya. Despite being popular with a few of his female friends that are starting to take a liking towards him (and he still remains emotionless and naive), but we get to learn more about Tatsuya and what he does behind-the-scenes and the people he interacts with, especially his relationship with his father.
But we also get to see how his fellow students starting to suspect him of being more than a Course 2 student.
But with this latest arc, the action is elevated as the schools must compete in the “Nine Schools Competition”. Competition is risky and challenging and for the guys, they know that they must face their most difficult opponent yet, the Third High School team led by the talented first class magician Masaki Ichijo a.k.a. “The Crimson Prince” and Shinkuro Kichijoji “Cardinal George”.
Ichijo is the eldest son and the future head of the Ichijo family, one of the Ten Master Clans and also has a crush on Miyuki, so his goal to defeat Tatsuya is even greater.
But as these two pose a great challenge to First High School, the true threat is unknown as someone is trying to kill the First High School Team, primarily Miyuki for some reason. And Tatsuya, who has his eyes on the competition, also has his eyes out for any potential threat on his sister’s life and his teammates.
As for the Blu-ray release, I love the fact that MADHOUSE went all out in giving a vibrant, colorful presentation for this TV series. Most TV series don’t receive this much love, but the studio went all out in making sure the background art, structures and character design were done very well. Lossless audio is Linear PCM Stereo and the voice acting is fantastic. It’s important to note that this Blu-ray release does not include English dubs.
And as usual with Aniplex product Blu-ray set releases, you can expect swag and in this case, you get a special booklet and collectible pin-up cards.
Overall, “The irregular at magic high school – Vol. 2: Nine Schools Competition” Blu-ray release features a storyline that gets better and better. And with this latest arc, we get to see powerful individuals from other schools take on Tatsuya, Miyuki and others from First High School, but also Tatsuya having to prepare for an unknown threat against his teammates, but most importantly, since his sister is the primary target.
Captivating, exciting and all-out awesome! “The irregular at magic high school” is recommended!
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