Happy White Day everyone! As promised about a month ago (has it been that long?), I have decided to review a series that features a bunch of guys, and what better way to discuss it than with another romantic anime?
Now just to clear the confusions, this series is the anime adaptation for an otome visual novel for the PS Vita that was released simultaneously with its original broadcast in Fall 2016, and no, I haven’t played it. Now I would slap a SPOILER warning on this review, but I have to be honest: the only real spoilers are ones for the game, once you play all the routes. That and honestly, I try not to take this one too seriously.
If you let go of the idea of expecting a critical analysis, complex characters, and whatever judgment you have about stuff that’s not meant to make sense, Magic-kyun! Renaissance is very enjoyable. After all, it’s a lovely story about one girl that changes the life of six guys in an art academy… and occasionally magic stuff happens.
Magic-Kyun! Renaissance brings us to Hoshinomori Private Magical Arts High School, a specialized academy for the gifted that the rest of us can only dream about. There, students must refine their art (whatever that may be), and the students there work tirelessly to perfect themselves.
Having lost her mother just a few months before, second-year student Kohana Aigasaki has been invited to attend this school. Kohana’s mother also studied at this prestigious academy, and still feels a need to understand her. As a student in the art of ikebana (flower arranging), Kohana wants to use this opportunity at Hoshinomori to become even closer to her.
But little does she know, Kohana’s mother Sakura Aigasaki was a superstar at Hoshinomori, and many of the school’s faculty remember her. Having left the academy, Sakura chose to live a normal life for her daughter which isn’t thoroughly explained (again, probably best not to think about it). However, because of her mother’s reputation, Kohana has an added expectation and therefore pressure by her teachers and fellow students to be just as amazing. She would be a pedigree after all, right?
But Kohana’s gift isn’t going to be exactly like her mother’s. She is her own person, and she learns about her own talents, when she helps unite what is essentially the school’s culture festival committee.
Now if you were playing the visual novel, the six guys on this committee are basically Kohana’s “routes,” which means you the player has to spend lots of time with at least one of them to complete the game. Now unlike the average anime based on a visual novel, Magic-Kyun! Renaissance does choose a route that becomes more obvious when you realize which of the six guys Kohana finds the most intriguing, but before I go there, I should probably talk about the guys on the whole.
Like any decent series like this one, each of Kohana’s boy friends (uhm… boyfriends?) have distinct personalities: Aoi is the quiet one, Kanato is the naive one, Louis is the beautiful one, Monet is the dreary one, and Rintaro is the energetic one.
Naturally every one of them have different talents to bring to the school and this series, but all of them show some degree of insecurity about them. Maybe it’s the stress of being a high school student, or just the fact that this series some drama in it. But just as Kohana struggles to understand herself at this elite school, the boys struggle to understand themselves in their respective crafts.
But with each committee member that Kohana gets to know better, the boys each come to recognize why they love doing what they do, whether it is singing, dancing, playing music, calligraphy, painting, or sculpting. They each have their own reason for why they love doing their respective art. But it becomes apparent to them that there is one person to thank for reminding them what is truly important: Kohana Aigasaki.
Now this wouldn’t be a full review without me giving at least one point of criticism. As pretty as this series is, one thing that does bother me the use of magic (or lack thereof) in the anime. I appreciate that having some kind of fantasy element is present, seeing how “Magic” is literally in the title. However, I felt the moments that suggested any form of magic were just shoehorned in there, like it was just kind of there. This happens whenever Kohana emits flowers everywhere whenever the guys are singing, or that one time Kohana grew a tree in the middle of campus after perfecting an ikebana of her own.
For this reason, I am led to believe that the magic as such in this series is more mentally charged, and is therefore an illusion more than a physical phenomenon. If the magic is metaphorical, I think that Magic-Kyun Renaissance‘s main themes can be salvageable. Kohana didn’t become each of these guys’ muse because she had some bewitching supernatural ability. She helped them remember their own inspirations through encouragement, determination, and showing them that they didn’t have to bear the burden on their own.
Kohana Aigasaki is never going to be like her mother. But by coming to Hoshinomori and meeting these wonderful guys, Kohana discovered her own self. And for that, I do have to hand it to this series: Kohana the player character has a personality! Her struggles, her emotions, her desires, Kohana does what most visual novel protagonists don’t in an anime adaptation by giving me a reason to care about her; to relate to her.
I’m not going to lie. I have minimal experience with ikebana, and no experience as a girl. I pretty much loathe the idea of even considering a lavish lifestyle that comes with the reputation of an elite academy of any kind, and the vanity of Kohana’s rival/primary love interest certainly doesn’t do much to despell that for me. But as I was watching this, I felt that Kohana truly was telling her own narrative through her interactions, not just standing by to watch what’s going on. Kohana may have drawn much of her inspiration from the boys, but those boys in turn also drew inspiration from her, and they wouldn’t forget that.
And besides, how else can you follow up all these events than with this cheesy climax?
All joking aside, Magic-Kyun! Renaissance was a lot of fun, and I do appreciate the direction where this series was headed, even if I did hate some of Kohana’s choices. But there is one thing left for me to talk about, because today is about love, and for whatever reason, it has become my tradition to talk about who is the best
girl guy in a series full of them.
No worries. I will keep my comments suitable for a general audience.
If I had to pick which of these guys is my favorite, the best hasbando, the route I’d play if I were Kohana, I’d have to go with the dancer, Louis Anjō. Of all the guys, Louis was the most relatable to me. I may not be a dancer, but I do know what it’s like to hate something that I used to love, purely out of the pressure that comes with being perfect. I actually did wish I knew more about him after running through this anime.
And besides, how can I possibly turn away from that gorgeous hair of his? You can call me your little flower any day… you know… if I was Kohana Aigasaki. This is all hypothetical, right?
So if you are looking for an anime based on an otome visual novel where the heroine is pretty awesome and you don’t mind magic as a distraction, check out Magic-Kyun! Renaissance.
And sorry for the delays in these posts. Been swamped with grad school stuff at the moment. I will return next week, assuming my schedule will allow me.