Friday, June 6, 2014

Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei: Drowning in Technical Terms

I understand what those words mean individually...

Last Seen: Episode 8

There appears to be what I think is going to be a recurring problem in this show, to drown the viewer in technical terms. In this last episode especially, where they repeatedly talk about flying magic:
Personally, I could just barely keep up with the general concepts of what they were talking about. I could do this because,

A) I best absorb information through reading it, rather than hearing it
B) Subtitles cater to point A beautifully
C) I've always enjoyed gently exploring multiple fields of study, Chemistry, Math, Biology, etc
and,
D) I'd encountered most of the technical terms they'd used before...as parts.

I highly doubt these forces will easily align for most other people. Even with all of this, I only vaguely understood the concepts they were alluding to. I didn't have the daftest idea what they were explicitly talking about unless they explained it in a simpler manner.

So far, this doesn't present an impasse for the show, mostly because of what I think is self-awareness of this problem. I think the show is doing this intentionally to try and build world detail and immersion. They risk breaking that immersion by just confusing viewers, but I give them points for the courage to try. Specifically, they are taking the time aside to explain parts that are important in more detail when it is relevant to the immediate story or plot. For instance, when they showed a visual representation with the 'Moving an Egg with Magic' clip. I was only vaguely understanding why the problem the characters were talking about, was a problem, up until that point. I'd have had to pause the show, or rewind it, and think on it to finish my understanding without that clip.
I don't think most people would have my patience and interest in trying to understand.

Which brings me beautifully to my next point: I now see the draw backs of 'Modern Magic' as a theme for a show, and why Mahou Sensou so wonderfully coped out on it three steps in. 'Modernizing' magic for the purpose of intrigue and immersion, risks sacrificing one of the principle benefits of including magic in a story in the first place:
Question: "Why this, that, or the other?"
Answer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFQCYpIHLNQ

Magic School Irregular is making a visible effort to counter this, and to be frank, we didn't need to understand what they were talking about with flying magic throughout the episode, we just needed to absorb the fact that it was really complicated and hard to do. Particularly, the issue became a lot easier to visualize(for me) once they talked about Layering Magic.

Personally I'm still really enjoying the show, and looking forward to it, week to week.
I can understand why someone would want to drop it at this point though, despite it not actually being a problem yet. It's the kind of thing that could easily become annoying.

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