Review: 'The Irregular at Magic High School The Movie' is exactly what you'd expect

Marcus Goh
Contributor
“The Irregular at Magic High School The Movie: The Girl Who Calls the Stars” (Golden Village Pictures)

Running time: 90 minutes (1.5 hours)

Secret ending: Yes.

“The Irregular at Magic High School The Movie: The Girl Who Calls the Stars” (Golden Village Pictures)

“The Irregular at Magic High School The Movie: The Girl Who Calls the Stars” is a Japanese science-fiction action anime in Japanese. It is the first film in “The Irregular at Magic High School” light novel/manga/anime franchise.

The film revolves around the appearance of a mysterious girl, which coincides with the appearance of a powerful weapon that could change the fate of nations. It’s up to the team to unravel the conspiracy surrounding this girl, especially when a threat of epic proportions arises.

“The Irregular at Magic High School The Movie: The Girl Who Calls the Stars” is directed by Risako Yoshida and written by Tsutomu Sato. It features the voice talents of Tatsuya Shiba (Yuichi Nakamura), Miyuki Shiba (Saori Hayami), Erika Chiba (Yumi Uchiyama), Leonhard Saijo (Takuma Terashima), Mizuki Shibata (Satomi Sato), Mikihiko Yoshida (Atsushi Tamaru), Honoka Mitsui (Sora Amamiya), and Shizuku Kitayama (Yuiko Tatsumi). It is rated NC-16.

“The Irregular at Magic High School The Movie: The Girl Who Calls the Stars” (Golden Village Pictures)

There’s only been one season of “The Irregular at Magic High School” but the fan following in Singapore has been amazing.

The character designs make it easy to see why it’s seen such success. In addition, the heavy use of runes in the art direction add a touch of modernisation to what is otherwise a rather common fantasy premise, and the film continues the art style that has made it so popular worldwide.

“The Irregular at Magic High School The Movie: The Girl Who Calls the Stars” (Golden Village Pictures)

Highlights

Epic stakes

The stakes were huge not just in magnitude, but in terms of theme. The consequences of failure were huge for the protagonists and they were magnified by the fact the nature of the consequences were taboo.

It’s not often that you see a threat on such a scale (the threats in other anime films are generally more confined in their geographical scope), and metaphorically they would have also have had immense ideological impact.

“The Irregular at Magic High School The Movie: The Girl Who Calls the Stars” (Golden Village Pictures)

Enjoyable action

When it finally comes to the action scenes, “The Irregular at Magic High School The Movie: The Girl Who Calls the Stars” really lets loose. We see why the characters are as deadly as they are, and why the story deservedly focuses on them.

Although it doesn’t quite follow the same premise as the title would imply, it still takes place in a magical world, and there are still some elements of defiance and rebellion that characterised the anime series.

“The Irregular at Magic High School The Movie: The Girl Who Calls the Stars” (Golden Village Pictures)

Letdowns

Simplistic and predicable plot

The plot is as straightforward as it appears. The problem is that there’s absolutely no reveal, tension, or secrets in the story.

At best, there’s one unexpected plot development that seems like more of a forced contrivance than a real dramatic beat in the tale.

A simple story is not a bad thing, but having everything occur as expected makes for a rather uninteresting story.

“The Irregular at Magic High School The Movie: The Girl Who Calls the Stars” (Golden Village Pictures)

Lack of drama

The second problem is that the film is not dramatic in its execution. The story can be simple and predictable, but there can still be conflict between the characters.

However, even enemies seem very amicable to each other. There’s no tension in their interactions, and as a result, it all plays out like narration in dialogue form.

There are a few closeups of characters reacting, but beyond that, you don’t get any impression that the events of the movie have an impact on the characters.

“The Irregular at Magic High School The Movie: The Girl Who Calls the Stars” (Golden Village Pictures)

Too many literal talking heads

The bulk of the film involves people talking to each other, explaining why disaster is looming and why they have to do the things they do.

The problem is that they are literally just scenes of people talking to each other in the most boring fashion possible.

The most egregious one comes in the middle of the film, where all the main characters talk to each other while sitting down, and gasping on cue whenever something new is revealed — that has already been shown to the audience in a previous scene.

“The Irregular at Magic High School The Movie: The Girl Who Calls the Stars” (Golden Village Pictures)

Rushed resolution

After many tiresome conversations, the characters finally do battle in the climax. Then the film ends after the threat has been nullified, as you would have expected it would be.

There’s no explanation of what happens next, or the legal consequences of what the characters have done, or the fates of the all the victims that were rescued.

It ends so suddenly that you wonder whether you’ve missed anything.

“The Irregular at Magic High School The Movie: The Girl Who Calls the Stars” (Golden Village Pictures)

“The Irregular at Magic High School The Movie: The Girl Who Calls the Stars” is exactly what you’d expect from the title.

Perhaps if it had a less literal title or there a few more twists in the film, it would have been a more satisfying anime experience. As it stands, the film is a bunch of conversations and some fights stitched together, rather than a proper, dramatic, exciting story.

Should you watch this if it’s free? Okay.

Should you watch this at weekday movie ticket prices? Yes.

Score: 2.5/5

“The Irregular at Magic High School The Movie: The Girl Who Calls the Stars” opens in cinemas:
– 31 August, 2017 (Singapore)
– 5 October, 2017 (Malaysia)
– 11 October, 2017 (Philippines) 

Marcus Goh is a Singapore television scriptwriter, having written for “Police & Thief”, “Incredible Tales”, “Crimewatch”, and “Point of Entry”. He’s also a Transformers enthusiast and avid pop culture scholar. You can find him on social media as Optimarcus and on his site. The views expressed are his own.

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