Okay, so, in a world where magic exists, there’s this organization called the Inquisition that hunts down witches. There’s even a school that teaches and trains the youngsters to become full-fledged Inquisitors, and said school accomplishes this by having the students form test platoons and carrying out small-scale missions to earn points. One such test platoon is the 35th which is known as the “Small Fry Platoon” due to its pitiful number of members and points. The team consists of short sniper Usagi Saionji, mad scientist and best girl Ikaruga Suginami, and team leader Takeru Kusanagi. Takeru especially comes under a lot of fire for wielding a sword in a gun-dominated profession, and he has a habit of announcing himself at the beginning of every encounter. Things look up for them, though, when disgraced, demoted Inquisitor Ouka Ootori is sent back to their school to join the 35th. She’s a frigid one, though, and it’s up to the others to get her to warm up in hopes they can all pass and ya know…not die.
I know when I wrote about Akashic Records of Bastard Magic Instructor in the last Seasonal Sawce, I mentioned that I was tired of magical school shows. Well, this one doesn’t count because it’s an anti-magical school show! Ha! Yeah, I wish that excuse worked here. I honestly couldn’t tell you where the urge to suddenly watch Anti-Magic Academy: The 35th Test Platoon came from. Maybe I felt like I hadn’t watched a trashy harem in a while. Maybe the thought that the prodigy badass transferring in was actually a girl got me hoping it would be different. Maybe it just felt like the right thing at the right time. I don’t know. Whatever it is, I’m here to tell you what I think about Anti-Magic Academy. Spoiler alert–ain’t too good.
Anyone who’s read even a bit of this blog should know that I enjoy harem shows. They’re just so easily digestible and often entertaining in both good and bad ways. This one is a mixed bag. For everything I liked about it, there were a couple I didn’t care for. First off, the most glaring flaw is the plotting. Now, I’m fine with four two-episode arcs, a standalone, and a final three-episode arc. Nothing felt like it mattered, though. Ouka opened up a bit more after her story and Takeru got a Battlizer. Sure, that’s great. Transfer witch student Mari Nikaidou sticks around after her two-parter. Yeah, makes sense. But, it seems like the characters don’t really change or grow other than Ouka being friendlier. Usagi is no different after dealing with her almost-rapist fiance (yeah, that happened), and best girl Ikaruga is astonishingly the same after her arc. And there was some dark crap in that one. Spoilers coming for hers: Her sister/clone was killed after telling her that a baby elf girl Ikaruga grew in their lab and hadn’t seen in years was still alive and with the enemy group Valhalla. And there is no mention of this at all after those episodes. Yes, the elf girl is seen at the end, but you’d think this would’ve been a big thing going forward. Nope.
I could tell even before I read up on the series that a lot of stuff had been cut (ex. a two-episode tournament arc that started and ended out of nowhere with almost no explanation). Nothing ever felt like it flowed, things just happened and characters just showed up without any build-up, and most everything felt superfluous. I hate cutting the plot down like that, but it’s rough, y’all. Fitting that a group called Alchemist is one of the antagonists since it’s like they turned gold into poop. There is some good here, though.
As always, any anime that can give me a character I love to pieces will earn points with me. Ikaruga’s story and character were just fun. Yeah, both could’ve been more important overall, but I still liked her. I actually liked most of the cast for the most part. It’s just that none of them ever really got to shine. All had some very unpleasant skeletons tucked in their closets, and I was surprised by how dark the anime could get. Some of the dark moments did lead to some truly odd stuff later, though. (ex. Takeru’s rival gets a Battlizer that looks like an Accel World knock-off). There are also hints at a cooler world in the series. Again, the anime did an awful job of adapting that and dropping hints. I could think of quite a few ways that finale could’ve been a heck of a lot better, but I’m supposed to be positive in this paragraph. Like, Takeru being so used to the harem shenanigans around him that he one time immediately starts crying before anything happens to him. It was funny.
Terrible handling of characters, baffling plot decisions, and a plain old fumbling of everything that could’ve made this one good…really keeps this one down. Despite all that, I hesitate to call it straight-up bad. I feel fine giving it a 6. Gave me a character I really liked, and it got me to honestly laugh a couple times. Yeah, there are plenty of shows that do this better, but I also think there are far more that do it worse.