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Literature / Modern Magic Made Simple

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Koyomi, Kaho, Misa & Yumiko

Koyomi Morishita is an Ordinary High-School Student who can't do anything right. Figuring that magic could help her out, she follows an old pamphlet to the Anehara Cross School of Magic. Misa Anehara, who lives there with her younger brother, says that the building hasn't been a proper school for years, but she agrees to take on Koyomi anyhow and teach her in the ways of Modern Magic. Koyomi's classmate, Kaho, and a descendant of a powerful magician, Yumiko, end up learning from Misa as well.

Modern Magic Made Simple (Yoku Wakaru Gendai Mahou, literally "Comprehensible Modern-Day Magic") is a series of Light Novels written by Hiroshi Sakurazaka and illustrated by Miki Miyashita, which began publishing in 2003. The novels received an anime adaptation in the summer of 2009, which was formerly available for streaming on The Anime Network as Modern Magic Made Simple and can still be watched on Crunchyroll under its Japanese title.


Tropes in Modern Magic Made Simple include:

  • Accidental Pervert: Koyomi is fascinated by Yumiko's bras, panties, and frequent lack thereof. She frequently gets into situations that reveal this.
  • Acquired Poison Immunity: A magical version with Soshiro. Having been unknowingly exposed to magic through Misa's cooking his entire life, nothing magical affects him.
    • This is how the Church Militant trains their Mage Killers. It usually kills the person who does it. Soshiro and Misa lucked out. (And Misa luckily avoided being responsible for the death of another family member.) No, Soshiro is not a member of the Church Militant; but enemy mages confuse him for one. (Said Church never actually appears in the anime)
  • Anvil on Head: Or the nearest equivalent, several falling basins from Koyomi.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Soshiro refuses to believe magic exists, and thinks all the supposed mages around him are nuts. This is partly because of his magic immunity preventing him from seeing the spells, but it's not clear how he rationalizes the huge washbasins that keep appearing out of thin air right in front of him.
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  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Misa stops a crashing plane by summoning a giant teddy bear.
  • Badass Normal: Kaho. She is the most normal person in the main cast, class representative, and badass modern-time magician. She is probably on par with Misa in understanding modern magic and was able to upgrade Misa's pendant and use a miniature version of Misa's Christmas Shopper (a program that gives her access to all computers on the world) with her cell phone. What makes it even more impressing is the fact that she can't even SEE most of the stuff the others are talking/fighting about.
  • Bland-Name Product: WcDonald's, Aser (instead of Acer), etc.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Yumiko, in spite of her unusual looks, is still Japanese, as she points out.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Misa introduces a spell that "could call a cell phone that's turned off" early into the third episode. She later uses that spell to call Yumiko... as she's trying to sneak up on a group of Daemons.
  • Combined Energy Attack: The Sorceress Library has the power of all Ghostscripts in the world. Misa created the Christmas Shopper, a program that gives her access and the power of all computers in the world.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Knowing that Koyomi would likely get herself into trouble, Kaho placed a hard copy of her phone number into the battery compartment of Koyomi's cell phone. This ends up saving her when she's trapped in an office building.
    • Koyomi getting herself into trouble doesn't take too much ability to anticipate, however.
  • Death by Childbirth: Variation. Misa's mother used up all of her strength while saving Misa, so she did not have enough energy while giving birth to Soshiro and died.
  • Decoy Protagonist: In the First Episode Yumiko has the focus however its turns out that Koyomi Morishita is the main character
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Guess how the Evil Sorceress who wants to kill everyone rewards the mage who resurrected her? Go on, guess.
  • Invisible to Normals: Daemons, Jinis and Ghostscripts can't be seen by those who can't detect magic, which leaves Kaho unable to see most of what everyone's talking about.
  • Lethal Chef: Misa's cooking looks terrible, but she cheats around the trope by using magic.
  • Magitek: Any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from technology, since it all works on electronic pulses, whether those are from a computer (Modern Day Magic) or a person (Classical Magic).
  • Male Gaze: In the anime, the camera often pauses on female characters' breasts or rear ends.
  • Modesty Bedsheet: Yumiko's way of wrapping hers around is truly amazing.
  • Mood Whiplash: Various minor examples, what with the bizarre fanservicey comedy interspersed with appearances by the creepy homicidal ghost-wizard, but this really takes effect when Yumiko accidentally impales Misa, and spends the next few episodes angsting over her apparent death.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Yumiko. She frequently has her panties exposed.
  • Mystical White Hair: Yumiko. It's a marker for magical ability.
  • Older than They Look: Koyomi is mistaken for an elementary schooler even though she's 15. In contrast, Yumiko is Younger than They Look. She's also 15, but looks closer to an adult.
  • The One Guy: Soushirou, Misa's younger brother, who mostly helps with odd jobs around the house.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Well, not too different; "Ghostscripts" are given some Magi Babble as the memories left behind. Some have more personality than others.
  • Power Copying: Yumiko is able to copy a spell after seeing it performed once.
  • Powers via Possession: Yumiko becomes the vessel for a legendary sorceress, effectively being taken over. This crosses over with Power Gives You Wings as well.
  • Real-Place Background: The series takes place in some clearly recognizable Tokyo locales, Akihabara first and foremost.
  • Red Baron: Misa is "The Modern Day Mage."
  • Reluctant Fanservice Girl: Yumiko is the most frequent source of fanservice and is not happy about it. The wind seems to blow solely to make her provide upskirt shots or Marilyn Maneuver, she gets her panties stolen, Koyomi accidentally rips her bikini top during the Beach Episode, and so on.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: In the first chapter of the novels, Misa finds Koyomi and Soshiro arguing about magic, and mistakes it for a couple's fight. Both of them are quick to deny it.
  • Smoke Shield: Misa is smart enough to know this did not kill the Big Bad and says she's waiting for them to come out.
  • Stable Time Loop: Koyomi returns to the time when Yumiko is still a kid and met Misa for the first time, originally the cat that Yumiko befriends died and become a ghostscript, but thanks to Koyomi it survives and Yumiko ends up admiring the girl she met that day without knowing it's Koyomi all along.
  • Time Stands Still: The destructive fire-mage has this power, although it looks like teleportation at first.
  • Thanatos Gambit: Misa turns herself into a Ghostscript deliberately in order to be able to drag the Sorceress into a Dimensional Abyss. However, she survived.
  • Tsundere: Yumiko often displays a somewhat of a tsundere like personality towards Koyomi
  • Vapor Wear: Yumiko has a tendency to lose her panties.
  • Webisode: Episode 0 was posted online as a lead-in to the series.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Koyomi's sole magical skill is summoning basins. It's still a decently useful power if she ever figures out just how she creates them.
    • Of course, once they discover how it works, it goes from 'decently useful' to 'almost unstoppable' as Koyomi can rewrite any spellcode into the basin summoning spell, no matter how powerful or how complicated. This makes attacking her with any sort of magic nigh impossible. Unfortunately, as noted by The Dragon, once she can't create any more codes (your capillaries break if you create too many), she becomes a sitting duck.
  • Wizarding School: The story's main setting, the Anehara Cross School of Magic. Technically it used to be a school; but the current owner of the house (also a mage) figured "Eh, why not?" and is teaching Koyomi and Kaho for her amusement.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: Koyomi spends three episodes, spread over the course of a few hours, in the past. It translates to 23 seconds in the present.
  • Younger than They Look: Yumiko who is 15 but looks closer to an adult.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: When Koyomi time travels by writing herself into the Code of the past, she has to be careful not to be harmed in the past, as it could damage her future self as well.
    • For that matter; she really shouldn't have been able to travel to the past; or rather; it should have been more Intangible Time Travel. Something about her made it real.

Alternative Title(s): Yoku Wakaru Gendai Mahou