3 Episode Taste Test: Yoku wakaru gendai mahou (Properly learned modern magic)

There are many good panty episodes in anime: episode four of Mai-HiME springs to mind as one, episode three of Yoku wakaru gendai mahou is not. Whereas the former had comic timing well beyond what one would have expected its studio to be able to produce, the latter is tawdry, boring tripe and is just the crowning achievement of an another muddled and bland instalment in the chicks-with-sticks and magic genre.

arcane magic of the hand-waving, runic variety and the "modern" magic of binary and cellphones

The series opens strongly with a battle against a sharply dressed wizard by two small girls who promptly get pummelled; rewinding six hours, the viewer is then treated to the first (and likely not the last) exposure of a criminally underage girl's posterior - while being chased by the impossibly sedate antagonist and engaging in some cryptic dialogue with other notable cast members. The public display of flesh is uncomfortable viewing, not only for the implied age of the participant but the futility of its inclusion - lacking any development of characters or story, it borders on pornography. From this low starting point, the first three episodes stumble haphazardly around like a late-night drunkard: first episode events are neither explained or explored and it's only upon reflection that the upcoming twist is made obvious. Elsewhere, characters who were no more than bystanders are now learning magic with the protagonist while incidents are nothing more than contrivances for character collisions. All of this set to a constant barrage of camera angles designed to place the poorly drawn breasts of the more well endowed females front-and-centre.

Were the episodes entertaining overall, the more flagrant faults could be overlooked but the series seems intent on dragging out the most vapid scenes until any notion of pacing or rhythm is destroyed and only the gormless expression of the silver-haired protagonist is left smeared across the screen. The dialogue is strained and basic, matching the barren and disorderly plot, while the characters are stunningly pedestrian to the point of being outright tedious. This is disappointing when the core idea of the series holds such promise, the juxtaposition of arcane magic of the hand-waving, runic variety and the "modern" magic of binary and cellphones is criminally underused. Instead the titular modern magic exposes its heritage as nerd-fuelled idealism that computer programming can somehow change the world and buxom females wield it with aplomb.

Yoku wakaru gendai mahou is a childish bore of a show; while others are burning through money and animators in the first episode trying to show the best of what's on offer, this series presents a tepid magical battle, a confused and mediocre mythos inhabited by insipid stick figures with barely an original thought between them. Chances are slim that this will somehow coalesce into something cohesive further down the line if this is all the first three episodes has to offer; so despite a penchant for the idea, the orbiting ephemera make this just too banal stomach.