Rewriting Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei
I started thinking this week while watching Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei that rather than following the girls of first high, this spin-off would have been significantly stronger if it had left first high behind and followed the cast of third high. We could then entirely reframe this sports tournament and have the underdogs of third high trying to outclass the master engineer Tatsuya and his severely overpowered sister. Just saying, it would probably make for a much more compelling story.
Not that this week’s episode is actually bad, because this was a perfectly watchable episode.
We even had some novelty in seeing a magical tennis match (was it Cloudball or something?) play out which hadn’t appeared in the original series of Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei.
Now was this very brief match with none of the main cast from first high appearing particularly compelling? Not really. But it was nice to see that Isshiki Airi really does have some decent moves and in a slight retelling of the story could be the protagonist. That said, she’s going up against Miyuki later so we know she’s going to lost, which is kind of sad.
Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei doesn’t have room for more overpowered characters at the centre.
While her bratty demeaner in her introduction at the banquet didn’t exactly win me over, Airi has demonstrated she has some fairly solid personality traits. She’s determined and hard working. She is also willing to re-evaluate a situation and strategize, so she isn’t just flinging raw power at a situation and hoping it will stick. She looks out for her friends and team-mates. And basically other than not being from the right high-school she ticks every box for protagonist material. Definitely a case of a character who has everything that they should need to win being robbed by the necessity of plot.
Anyway, Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei continues to churn through the events and we finally see the first couple of matches of Pillar Break.
In this, Eimi finally gets a chance to shine and also gets some development as a character afterwards. She’s usually such a high flying and enthusiastic presence, it was actually kind of comforting to see her reaction to Miyuki’s first round as it really made her feel a little more human.
Still, you have to admit, that any character, red-haired or not, who uses the strategy of destroying their own pillar to mow down the opponents is kind of cool. That’s the kind of reckless and fun plan that no one ever really suspects and is kind of hard to defend against. Plus, it looked pretty amazing. I mean, in terms of strategies, this one is simple but so incredibly effective and just fun to watch. Okay, Eimi’s Yippee-Ki-Yay and go move may very well be the highlight of this series so far for me and for a character I barely remembered existing from the original she has pretty much become my favourite of the bunch here.
But, we really should talk Miyuki.
You know, one of the frustrating things about Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei is that we aren’t learning more about the Shiba’s. We still have the mysterious aunt and family obligations but no new light has really been shed on how all that works. Instead, we just get more half-comments and incomplete conversations.
Yet, Miyuki really does want to look out for her brother (at least when she isn’t zapping him to the ground herself in a fit of jealousy). There’s a sweet moment at the start of this episode where Miyuki is genuinely trying to comfort him, even though he seems fairly stoic, because once again he’s pushed himself out of the lime-light because of all of their family baggage.
Equally, Miyuki’s match, while we had seen this particular strategy the first time round, is still an exceptional display of magical power. One thing everyone watching that round of pillar break should be aware of is not to mess with Miyuki. And she wasn’t even up against a strong opponent. It promises some fairly interesting matches to come even if we do know the outcome and honestly, I think this episode has probably been the most fun to watch yet.
Images from: Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei. Dir. Hideki Tachibana. Connect. 2021
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