Miyuki has perfected the art of the cold glare.
Anyone who has watched a single episode of The Irregular at Magic High School or the first episode of Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei is aware that Miyuki has a serious brother complex going on. However, in case we’d all forgotten, the first few minutes of episode 3 have another class mate making loud and disparaging remarks against ‘weeds’ and in particular the course 2 student who has just been entered into the disciplinary committee.
I mean it isn’t just bad manners to bad-mouth someone publicly; in this instance it is outright stupidity given his sister is in the classroom.
Anyway, Miyuki most certainly makes her displeasure known.
Though I can’t help but think that Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei would be better as a spin-off if it embraced the chance to make the non-friend characters actual humans instead of caricatures. Tatsuya has limited social interactions outside of necessary ones so the various random classmates being one-dimensional from his perspective makes sense. In this version of the story, it makes a lot less sense.
So far Honor Student seems less willing to dive into the technical side of how magic is working but also hasn’t improved the support cast to really make a more slice-of-life school-days kind of anime feel like it is standing on particularly solid ground.
That and I now have to wonder how Miyuki isn’t in front of the discipline committee every other day given freezing a whole classroom and multiple class-mates has to count as a magical attack and was hardly a justified act of self-defence.
Can Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei stand on its own feet?
At three episodes in I’m finding that Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei is doing an excellent job of fleshing out Miyuki’s friends as characters. Honoka and Shizuku are both delightful as they spend this episode investigating the source of the attacks on Tatsuya and try to keep Miyuki from knowing anything is wrong (even though she already knows and Tatsuya also knows they are following him).
But I have to wonder how I would take these first three episodes if this was my introduction to Magic High School?
Has there been enough world building, explanation or even coherent plot to really get me invested in Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei if I removed my prior connection with the story?
And honestly, I’d probably come to the conclusion there hasn’t been, at least not yet.
We’re skipping through events from the original story and they only really connect because we’ve seen them before from a different perspective. I can’t help but think this would be a terribly choppy rendition for anyone new to the franchise.
Also, I had to wonder who Eimi is? (No spoilers if you’ve read the source.) I can’t remember her from Irregular at all so I’m left wondering if she’s an original character for Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei. In which case, how does that fit the two stories together. Just Eimi just never actually interact with Tatsuya? Or are we going to learn she’s actually a plant for some side mission the girls will go on before being written out?
She’s a pleasant enough addition to the team and she added enough energy this week riding into the fray to pull Honoka and Shizuku out of the clutch of the club recruiters. Also I somehow doubt that Honoka and Shizuku would have quite enough initiative on their own to form a ‘detective’ group and choose to follow around Tatsuya so that whole plot line can only exist because of Eimi really.
Still, I can’t help but wonder where this character came from and how long she’s sticking around for.
However, much as Miyuki kicked off the episode with a perfect cold glare, her reaction toward the end of the episode where Tatsuya actually asked her about her friends (who he realised had been following him) earned Miyuki the title of best reaction for the episode.
As much as Miyuki’s brother obsession is quite excessive, the interactions between Tatsuya and Miyuki remain a highlight of this anime and with magic seemingly taking a back-seat in this spin-off and the tensions between characters being highlighted, the relationship between Tatsuya and Miyuki is an important rock for the series to build around.
However, the ‘case’ wasn’t solved this week so I guess Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei is future proofing against the three episode drop by making episode 3 a to be continued. Lots of anime seem to be taking this approach recently and I wonder how it is disrupting narratives trying to put cliff-hangers so early in the piece.
Images from: Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei. Dir. Hideki Tachibana. Connect. 2021
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