When I said in my episode 10 impressions of Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei that it was unlikely that the boys will get much screen time, I didn’t know just how true that was despite a chunk of this episode did deal with the final of the Monolith Code event. But we’ll get back to that.
Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei just keeps charging forward.
Perhaps the most egregious issues I’ve found the whole way through this Irregular at Magic High School spin-off is the pace at which it tackles each narrative arc. There’s no time to set things up or establish characters. No time to really understand how people are feeling or are responding to what is going on. Half the time it feels like the main plot line is actually just background noise.
However, even assuming the idea was to shift the focus on to Miyuki and her friends, the girls in the rookie competition for Mirage Bat really got the short end of the stick this week.
First we see a group of shadowy business men being shadowy as they openly discuss their sabotage plan, which had a lot more impact in the original story because we’d actually seen the bus-crash play out and the acts of sabotage were very much what Tatsuya was dealing with. It was the main plot line whereas here its been mentioned once or twice, we did see the accident for Battle Board but really there’s been nothing overt until the boys got blown up last week.
Almost instantly we cut away and instead of actually seeing much of the match with the rookie girls, we instead see the girls in the stands congratulating Tatsuya for being amazing. Sure we get to see the celebration the girls have on placing first and second, but even then they are waving to Tatsuya and then the event is done. We saw maybe one animated leap from both girls.
The short cuts in animation aren’t limited to the events this episode of Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei. It was actually fairly obvious throughout that this one didn’t have the polish of previous episodes. The magic when Miyuki was casting it lacked its usual brilliance and pretty much everything felt a bit flat.
I guess then they realise that they needed to give us some different take on this whole sabotage plot, so instead of seeing Tatusya actually getting to the bottom of things, the girls group up to play amateur detective and do manage to shut down one ploy in a series of scenes that have minimal movement and even the one decent action sequence ended up going to the girls of third high and the animation was pretty stilted.
Honestly, the trouble here is you can’t help but compare Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei to Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei, and this arc is coming up very much a sad second because they haven’t given us enough to make the girls competing the focus (outside of the pillar break match up) and the way they’ve delivered the sabotage plot is just not satisfying. Even if there was no original take on this arc, this episode really butchered both potential plot focuses.
And then we get to the boys in Monolith Code. They don’t bother to re-establish who the other two boys are helping Tatsuya as the reserves or what their abilities are. They barely get any lines at all. Then when you see the boys walking together both to the even and after it is over, they are so badly drawn you can barely recognise which one Tatsuya is (and I’m sure their heights changed at one point).
Add in that we barely get stills of arguably one of the best match ups of the Nine Schools competition before the whole thing is over and really there was little to cling on to in this episode that is satisfying.
Unless of course you really like Eimi running meetings for wannabe girl detectives.
Anyway, Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei has 2 episodes left, we still need to see Miyuki compete in Mirage Bat and I guess that will be where this series ends? I’ve tried to remain optimistic but really this isn’t must watch additional material for fans of Irregular. It’s added too little and with the quality definitely taking a dive in this episode a lot of the charm has pretty much worn off of it.
Images from: Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei. Dir. Hideki Tachibana. Connect. 2021
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