Tatsuya Shiba of The Irregular at Magic High School might come across as taciturn and cold, but there’s an impressive amount of power hidden beneath that chilly demeanor. Groomed from birth to become a living weapon, his bond with his sister acts as both a focal point for his abilities and a means to unleash them to their fullest extent. Mysteries abound with Tatsuya as the main character, so let’s take a closer look at some of the stranger qualities that help him to become the talented magician and warrior we know him to be.
Tatsuya's Magic is Limited by a Pledge
Full activation of Tatsuya’s abilities and potential hinges upon his sister Miyuki. As a consequence of the Pledge created by Touka Tsukuba, magic acts as a seal to limit Tatsuya’s access to his own Psion reserves, and his ability to use his Strategic spell. This also hinders his abilities towards other natural magics and creates a drain upon Miyuki’s own magic reserves, as they are constantly being used to maintain the limiting power of the Pledge. Functioning as Tatsuya’s limiter and key, Miyuki has the power to temporarily release the seal when the situation needs it and granting her brother the use of more Psions that most major top tier magicians. Releasing the seal causes a maelstrom of newly freed Psions that temporarily become visible to the naked eye and manifest themselves as a whirlwind of blinding light that forces back opponents.
Tatsuya's Emotions are Restricted - Except for One
Born to a family who prized magical abilities above all else, Tatsuya’s ability to wield only decomposition and regrowth magic was considered unacceptable. Hoping to bolster any latent skills, Tatsuya’s mother and aunt conspired together to experiment upon the six-year-old child, using prohibited Outer-Systematic Magic to alter his consciousness and add an Artificial Magic Calculation Area. This resulted in the creation of an artificial magician and enabled Tatsuya to wield magic, but it came at a price. The alterations clashed with his limbic system, greatly dampening his abilities to create strong emotions while still not creating powerful enough magic to satisfy his family’s expectations. It was eventually decided that he could be used as a guardian for his sister, as he managed to retain his sense of love for her.
Though Tatsuya’s limited emotional range makes him ill-suited to social situations, it is an ideal frame of mind for combat and the military, both of which he uses often in the protection of his sister. He can easily categorize people into either hostiles or non-hostiles, simplifying situations greatly considering that most of his other peers place people as either hostiles, neutrals or friendlies.
Tatsuya is a Ninjutsu Master
Honing one’s physical skills might seem purposeless in a world in which people can artificially bolster their bodies with the help of magic, but it has enabled Tatsuya to get out of many dangerous situations. A student of famed Ninjutsu expert Yakumo Kokonoe, Tatsuya is capable of inflicting damage with or without the help of his magic, boosting his physical abilities far beyond that of his peers. The training additionally helps to sharpen his senses without the use of magic, allowing him to detect hidden enemies even without the use of his Elemental Sight and prepare a counterattack. At the time of the anime, Tatsuya is considered to be proficient in chi utilization and martial arts, with his master commenting that he’s likely unable to best his student in a purely physical fight.
Tatsuya Has a Shockingly High Psion Count
The artificial Magic Calculation Area comes with a great many drawbacks, one of the most notable being Tatsuya’s limited abilities in regards to Systematic spells due to his slow casting speeds. While this might seem to put him at a disadvantage, his Psion count is the highest in the show, allowing him not only powerful resistance to magical attacks but gaining him access to the rare Gram Demolition countermagic. This allows him to compress Psion particles into a cannonball to blow away magic activation sequences, demolishing all records of magic. Gram Demolition repels the effects of Cast Jamming, and cannot be slowed or stopped by physical obstacles as it does not have a physical presence. This powerfully well-rounded attack has no clear weaknesses save for the absurdly high Psion count required to utilize it, and can only be used by a select number of magicians.
Tatsuya is a Supernatural Power User
Though Tatsuya’s speed is limited by how long it takes for him to cast systematic spells, his speed is made up for in other areas of magic. As a Supernatural Magic User, he is capable of manifesting phenomena through the application of his Psions through sheer force of will, giving him an impressive advantage against opponents who require time for their activation sequences. This advantage however comes at the cost of the Systematic magic’s versatility, as Supernatural Power can generally only utilize one type of magic. Supernatural Power users encounter prejudice however within the magical society, as theirs is not considered to be real magic by the rest of the community.
Clear distinctions are drawn between the two types of magic, with one considered to be superior despite the only real difference between the two is the usage of developed sequences. For this reason and for the sake of ease Tatsuya seems to prefer to using his CAD despite the clear advantages of Supernatural Power, claiming that it behaves as a more effective conduit for his Psions.
CADs additionally offer more stability than Supernatural Power, which relies upon its user’s will and intent to be used effectively. This causes many Supernatural Power users to utilize CADs as well as their own abilities for the sake of convenience and to more effectively utilize Loop Casting.