Welcome to the world of Magical Warfare, where humans and magic users (magicians) co-exist, yet also live in different worlds. What a minute there, Harry Potter….
Anyway, my bad attempt at a joke aside, meet Nanase Takeshi, who apparently doesn’t have the best home life, to the point that he’d rather be anywhere but home–including Hell (his words). Much like any “school boy/girl suddenly gets supernatural powers” show, this one also starts with Takeshi encountering a strange character early in the episode. Our strange character for Magical Warfare is Aiba Mui. Of course, conflict doesn’t follow far behind, as Takeshi finds himself caught up in a fight between Mui and a group of guys, including her memory-impaired brother. You know, it didn’t occur to me how formulaic this type of stuff can be until I started down this line of thinking in the review. Hmm…
Anyway, going back to my Harry Potter joke, it largely falls apart when you consider that Mui’s explanation of magicians seems to indicate that anyone can become a magician, so long as they come in contact with magic prior to becoming an adult. Apparently peoples’ apertures close up when they become adults, but I’m sure we all knew that. For Takeshi, it happens as a result of him accidentally kissing Mui (hello common trope), which leads to her trying to shoot him. I think his encounter with magic comes from the missed gun shot. Anyway, it certainly doesn’t seem particularly hard for a normal human to encounter magic and become a magician, as it happens to two other characters throughout the episode.
Okay, so maybe the episode wasn’t terrible. I mean, I certainly wanted to see what would happen, but it’s just occurring to me how many common elements are really in this show. Other things that stood out to me as head scratchers were the fact that Takeshi fends off a real sword with a bamboo sword–and manages to keep the bamboo sword from breaking for a while along with the fact that the primary villain in this episode just stands around patiently as Mui explains some plot details about magic, and even longer when one of Takeshi’s friends shows up. You have to love those polite villains who cater to those of us on the other side of the fourth wall.
I know this review doesn’t sound favorable, and to be honest I can’t really think of any reason to recommend this show. At the same time, I can’t think of any reason to blantantly tell you to avoid it, although there are some things that will be covered in the “Christian Perspective” section that you may want to consider. It may end up distinguishing itself later on as this world–and particularly “The Ruined World” opens up, or it may end up being a run of the mill fantasy-action series. I’m on the fence about whether or not I’ll stick with it.
A Christian Perspective:
Okay, let’s start with the obvious: the show is called Magical Warfare. Of course there is “magic” in here. As you will notice in the “Other” section of the Content Guide, the intro (as well as Mui’s magic) use the symbol of a hexagram, which I didn’t even realize was a thing until I looked it up on Wikipedia. The things you learn from anime… Outside of that, the characters’ magic powers seem to use some form of magic shape, although they seem to vary, whether by character or by power, I don’t know. One character appears to have a triangle, Takeshi may have a hexagon (didn’t really take time to count the number of sides), and I think Isoshima had a diamond. My point is that while the characters seem to use some heavily stylized magical shapes, they don’t really seem to be rooted in real-life occultism, with the exception of the hexagram (and even that is much more elaborate and flashy than what I saw on Wikipedia). This is one of the areas on which I’m waiting for feedback from other Christians. On the one hand, the hexagram is a real thing, with uses in occultism (although it has uses elsewhere, including Christianity, and none of the uses seem to include any kind of circle around it, at least as far as I see), but on the other hand the whole thing seems so fantastical that I don’t think they are mirroring any type of real-life occultic practices within the show. I suppose you’ll know whether I decide to stick with it or not based on whether episode 2 gets a review, but consider these things and pray about them if they make you uneasy.
My other big thing here is the use of some minor fanservice that really didn’t need to be included at all. When Isoshima gets her magic powers she apparently acquires “Transformation Magic”, which goes right to work on making her breasts bigger. We get a zoom-in when Takeshi notices what’s happening, complete with a shot of cleavage and a bit of Isoshima’s bra being revealed. If you’ve paid attention to my criticisms, you’ve probably figured out that I have a bone to pick with fanservice, and especially in instances like this. The characters are facing down the bad guys, so did we really need a fanservice interlude, no matter how brief, followed by several comments about Isoshima’s breasts? No, I really don’t think we did. There is also a shot of Mui nude in the closing credits, although it is reminiscent of the old Sailor Moon transformation sequences, except without all of the sparkle and shimmer. It’s about as detailed, though, which is to say not at all. Thankfully I skip the intros and outros past the first episode (and would even skip them then if not for wanting to report on content for you fine readers), and I recommend doing the same if you’d prefer to avoid the content in them.
Outside of all of this is, of course, violence. This is an action show, the characters engage in combat, and there are a few scenes involving blood. There are also a few occurrences of foul language: two uses of Jesus’ name in vain (unless you don’t count “j**z” as taking His name in vain, but I do, mainly because I was told it was a form of doing so), and 1 “d**n”. Certainly not the most foul-mouthed show in existence, and I do question the choice of translation for the two instances of “j**z”, simply because I can’t see the Japanese having much interest in taking the Lord’s name in vain. I could be wrong.
So there you have it. As a fence sitter, I will neither say “stay away” or “go for it”. If these issues seem like non-issues to you, then by all means have a watch. If this makes you uneasy, then perhaps check out another show.
Language: 2 “j**z”, 1 “d**n”
Alcohol/Drug Use: None
Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: When Isoshima gains her magical powers, Takeshi notices that her breasts are getting bigger–this, of course, prompts the camera to focus on her breasts, which force her shirt apart, showing cleavage and part of her bra; Mui is shown nude in the closing previews, although the style is similar to the old Sailor Moon transformation scenes, except without all the glittering lights, so it’s pretty much non-descript
Violence: a character is shoved against a wall; a butterfly is shot; two characters have a sword fight; a character is struck in the chest–and later, hand–with a bamboo sword; a character is hit in the face with a book; a character is pierced by some kind of magical energy; a character is struck in the throat with a bamboo sword
Blood/Gore: blood is seen coming from a character’s nose; a character spits out a mouthful of blood–there is also blood on the ground near his mouth when he falls
Other: The show features a hexagram (six-pointed star in a circle), which apparently has occultic uses–I’d never heard of it until now (and would have assumed it a fantasy instrument if not for Wikipedia); the hexagram appears throughout the intro, as well as when a female character fires her gun; there are different shapes used, as well–I think one was a triangle. It should be noted that all of these have some extravagant designs around them, as opposed to just being straight hexagrams or whatever (I assume the triangle would be called a trigram, if such a thing exists?). One still shot seems to show a historical magician holding out the “metal/devil horns” with one hand; a character calls upon the “god of thunder” in a magical attack