Today I'm going over one of the most painful shows I had to watch in the winter season of 2014: Magical Warfare. Ask anyone what they thought of Magical Warfare and you're likely to get the same answer: we really, really wanted it to be good, but it wasn't.
One of the problems with Magical Warfare is that it never manages to fully explain what in the hell is going on, so writing a synopsis is pretty damn difficult. I'll do my best though.
Magical Warfare is based around a world where magicians are locked in an endless war over power. While this war doesn't normally spill over into our world, it occasionally does, so that's where our hero Takeshi is pulled into the equation. In this world, humans touched by magic become magicians themselves. As such, when Takeshi inadvertently gets hit by a magic spell, he suddenly becomes a magician. Same with his friends Kurumi and Kazumi.
From here on out, the show becomes ridiculously hard to describe. We'll get to that later.
By the end of the show, I think most people will be upfront and tell you that the only reason most people had stuck around this long was for the mildly good opening and the excellent ending theme. They were very excellent compared to the rest of the show had to offer. Good animation, great music.
Magical Warfare started out intriguing, so much so in fact that I initially had such faith in it that I had it up there on my "most promising" shows list up until the fourth or so episode. After that though, the show tanks.
It tanks for a couple of reasons, the first being how it has no idea what it's trying to be. Some episodes portray it as a love-triangle that happens to take place in a magical civil war. Others made it look more like the first arc of The Irregular at Magic High School, wherein the plot is about protecting the school from outside forces. Some episodes make it seem like it's a full-on action show in the vein of something like Naruto.
This lies at the root of why the show just can't get it together. It has no definite direction. This ends up seeping into every level of the show. There's not just one time skip in this anime, there's apparently five separate time skips. Keep in mind that this is a one-cour series (12 or 13 episodes). As such, we're just expected to take it for granted that the characters magically (huehuehue) gained the ability to do things and/or become awesome when the writers say so. There's no buildup or tension in this show because it's too busy sprinting through like a dozen arcs in the course of a dozen episodes. Any battles that happen are incredibly anti-climactic because the villains get nerfed from the onset.
The motivations of characters and key pieces of information that should be keeping the show afloat are completely forgotten. By the end of the show, you're left wondering what the hell just happened, especially since the ending of the anime was absolutely nuts (I don't know what the hell that meant/changed). It's completely incoherent.
As such, basically nothing in the show makes sense and the characters are all sorts of bonkers. There's a whole lot of witty one-liners and badass boasts that come off as laughable because you just don't care. It's a mess.
I'm not even sure where we stand in the romance sub-plot (or is a main plot? I can't tell) since there wasn't really any advancement anywhere. For how fast we went, basically nothing happened.
Look, this show is bad. It's objectively bad and it does very little right. I really want to be nice to it (because I initially thought it would be good), but it's just not good at all.
From the underdeveloped characters to the laughable attempts at creating tension, this show never missed an opportunity to do something worse. By the end of the show I wasn't sure what exactly was happening and then it just abruptly ends on a cliffhanger, even though we're unlikely to ever get a second season because it's just so bad.
It's better to just not go anywhere near this. If you want a somewhat similar show, go watch The Irregular at Magic High School (Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei) or this season's vaguely similar Chaika - The Coffin Princess (Hitsugi no Chaika). It's difficult to see anyone actually liking this show.
One last thing though:
You can watch Magical Warfare on Crunchyroll (but you probably shouldn't).
NOTE: This review is using a new set of assets for the Ani-TAY review system that is currently being finalized.
This is part of Anime Marathon 2014, a continuation of Anime Marathon 2013 by popular demand. I'm on a mission to review every anime I can for the TAY community and anyone else that wants to read. I can never guarantee when these reviews will be posted, but I'll do my best to keep it consistent.