Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei wastes no time…
Spin-offs have proven to be somewhat tricky things and Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei is going in with a disadvantage given it has picked the character I kind of found the least interesting in The Irregular At Magic High School as its focal point.
Don’t get me wrong, Miyuki has her moments and is wickedly powerful. Honestly she should have a spot on my list of cool users of ice-magic except that she isn’t cool when she isn’t using her power. Her overwhelming brother complex kind of strips her of any agency she might have had and leaves her more as the super-powered fan-club rather than protagonist material leaving Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei with some heavy lifting to do if they are going to really reframe her as the main character.
It was much like when Is It Wrong To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon did a spin-off focusing on Ais. Sure, she works well in Dungeon where the focus is on Bell but on her own she hasn’t got enough presence to really keep me interested in her story and once I realised I was only watching Sword Oratoria for the glimpses we got of Bell I gave the whole thing up as a bit of a lost cause.
That said, I absolutely loved the world building and magical lore in Irregular and so I was definitely up for another dive into the world of Magic High School. Plus, Miyuki does have a cute but really impractical school uniform, and lets be honest it is a story about magical powered teens and theirs vast conspiracies and large chunks of unknown information about these two siblings so getting some more insight from a different perspective can’t be a bad thing. Right?
That said, having gotten my personal gripes out of the way, this first episode of Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei was actually pretty fun to watch.
Basically we are kicking off just before the two head off to magic high school and Miyuki has requested that Tatsuya spend the day with her for her birthday. Cue awkward side glances, hand-holding, a somewhat forced sequence where Miyuki tries on a bikini just so he can do his usual dead-pan reaction, before they eat in a café and get given a special ‘couples’ parfait.
Fortunately, the opening sequence of the episode promised fire and mayhem so viewers who are finding Miyuki’s brother obsession a little full on know that sooner or later Mahouka Kouou no Yuutousei is going to move onto more dramatic fare.
In seriousness this episode show-cases what it needs to. It establishes the brother and sister relationship for those who haven’t watched the original series and introduces the basics of how magic works with the CADs without getting into too much technical detail in episode one. It also establishes that these two have a lot of strings attached to them and their life by their aunt. It further establishes the dangers in the world by launching an attack on the shopping mall.
That’s actually a lot of work for one episode and Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei makes it look pretty effortless. Granted, this first episode probably won’t win over a lot of new viewers who are unfamiliar with the franchise on its own, but if the subsequent episodes are as interesting this spin-off may very well draw in a new audience or even re-engage fans who liked the world but weren’t sold on Tatsuya as the main character (though given I love Tatsuya I’m not falling in that camp).
Anyway, Miyuki actually does get to save the day here though the story is left with needing to find ways to sideline the overpowered Tatsuya in order to give Miyuki a chance to shine. A problem that may persist as the story continues or not if they go in a different direction.
All and all though, I’m pretty happy with this first episode and I’m looking forward to more of Miyuki’s adventures and I kind of hope they offer enough of a different perspective on their first year at magic high school to ultimately make Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei able to stand on its own.
Images from: Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei. Dir. Hideki Tachibana. Connect. 2021
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