Hatena Illusion Series Review: Broken Magic

Original Run: January 9, 2020 - March 26, 2020
Number of Episodes: 11
Genre: Comedy, Romance, Supernatural
Based on the Series Created By: Tomohiro Matsu and
Kentarou Yabuki

***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Hatena Illusion. Reader discretion is advised.***

Series Synopsis

The Hoshisato family has a secret. Although they are known the world over as magicians, their real business works within the shadows. The Hoshisatos are master thieves, but they do not seek gems or money. They are on the search for mystical Artifacts, created by the Hoshisatos, that have fallen into the hands of greedy individuals.

Watching from the sidelines as her parents use magic and mysticism to obtain their targets, Kana Hoshisato (voiced by Aina Suzuki) dreams of becoming a master thief. However, things take a turn when Kana’s old childhood friend, Makoto Shiranui (voiced by Yoshitsugu Matsuoka), comes to train as a magician at the Hoshisato household.

Despite the two once being close, the revived relationship between Kana and Makoto is a bit icy. However, the two soon prove to have the skills necessary to become the next great master thief team.

Series Positives

For a moment, I want to focus on Hatena Illusion’s first episode. It wasn’t anything great, but it did several things that made the prospects of the proceeding series appear as though it could be, at a minimum, enjoyable.

First, there were the characters. Or, more accurately, there were the character designs. Hatena Illusion looked cute. By extension, the atmosphere conveyed a feeling of easiness. Indeed, the likelihood of a heavyhanded narrative didn’t seem high. From the opening episode, you could get a sense that this show was going to be a lighthearted adventure story with plenty of silliness and fun.

Second, there were the members of the Hoshisato household. Out of this group, only Kana came off as a bit irritating. However, in Kana’s defense, this was, after all, only episode one. She had an entire series to grow as a character. Regardless, if she did struggle, others could make up for her lack of improvement, with the most probable candidate being her little sister Yumemi (voiced by Miyu Tomita).

Third, there was Makoto Shiranui. At the start, Makoto had the makings of the sort of character that would allow everyone to walk all over him. He was the kind of person who apologized for everything. Although this wasn’t promising, Makoto indicated that he was a decent guy. He was thoughtful of his surroundings and wasn’t oblivious to other people’s emotions. Overall, he was, potentially, the type of hero you could get behind.

Fourth, and finally, there was the idea between Hatena Illusion itself. From the information in episode one (as well as a few additional details in episode two), we could gather that the Hoshisato family was unique. They were from a line of magic users who could create objects called Artifacts. These Artifacts were quite powerful, and thus, were highly sought after by individuals with nefarious intent, a move condoned by the main Hoshisato family. Disapproving of this practice, Hatena’s mother, the creator of many of these Artifacts, broke off from the rest of the Hoshisato family and had dedicated her life to becoming a master thief and recovering her relics.

Again, this wasn’t a fantastic setup. The only thing this first episode did was establish what should have been expected out of this series. Now, out of everything that episode one suggested, there was something it failed to prepare me for. It turned out that Hatena Illusion would nosedive into utter crap. 

This series was bad. Oh, holy hell, this series was really, really bad.

Series Negatives

Let’s add a little context. Episode one through eleven of Hatena Illusion aired between January 9, 2020, and March 26, 2020. However, this is not an eleven-episode series. Episode twelve, for undisclosed reasons, would not see its airing until June 3, 2020 (as of this review going live on May 29, 2020).

I can only speculate at what caused the delay. But having sat through Hatena Illusion, there is only one possibility that makes sense to me. Production must have been such a complete s@#$ show that there was no way in hell it could have gotten everything done in time.

It was a bit slow in the beginning, but the longer this series went on, its cheapness began to appear. The way characters moved – a.k.a., their lack of movement – was awkward. Often half the screen was obscured to cut down on necessary animation. The character designs that looked promising in episode one progressively got duller and more lifeless. The visuals became lazy.

Remember how I said Kana was a tad annoying at the start of this show? Oh my god, she got way worse. She was insufferable because her one mood was to complain. It didn’t matter what was happening; if Kana could be unhelpful and whinny in any way, she would do it. Also, talk about unreasonable. Like, how dare Makoto turn out to be a boy after all the years Kana thought he was a girl. And clearly, Makoto was the worst person in the world for failing to realize Kana had asked him to be her partner in thievery despite that being her family’s ultimate secret.

Scratch that. I have no idea if there was anything “secret” in this show. There were so many continuity errors in Hatena Illusion.

For example, I could have sworn that Kana’s branch of her family had little to do with the main one. That notion was sort of solidified in my mind when Kana’s unknown aunt, the little sister of Kana’s beloved mother, tried to steal Artifacts from the Hoshisato residence. The fact that the aunt felt it necessary to break into the house indicated to me that she was not welcomed there. And yet, that was not the case.

Since Kana’s aunt was a Hoshisato, she had complete control over the residence and could freely come and go as she pleased. Plus, she had the power to kick Kana out at will, and not even Kana’s father could defy the main family in this matter. Also, Kana’s aunt and mother were raised by the same butler that had been faithful and loving to Kana all her life. So, not even a warning on that end?

Hatena Illusion was a total mess. I don’t know what else might be coming down the line in 2020, but we have found the new bottom.

Final Thoughts

It didn’t bother me in the slightest that this series was an episode short. It meant that I could move on from this disaster much faster.

The animation was cheap, the characters infuriating, and the story was all mixed up and inconsistent. I wasn’t trying to say the first episode was indicating anything promising, but it was suggesting something much better than this piece of trash.

Hatena Illusion cannot be more skippable.

But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this series? How would you advise Hatena Illusion? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.

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