I really wasn’t expecting much from Eimi’s match against Shiori from Third High this week on Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei. Given the conclusion was inevitable, I expected it to be relatively fun to watch but unmoving. I mean, Eimi’s last match was fun but this isn’t a character I am particularly invested in.
How happy I am to be wrong. For perhaps the first time this season The Honour Student at Magic High managed to get me fully emotionally invested in a scene and as Eimi delivered her tired ‘Yippee Ki-Yay’ at the end of the match I both had a tear in my eye and a smile on my face.
Eimi stole the show this week in Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei
This was just a masterfully put together match with two characters they’ve tried to build up during the tournament so we’ve seen them enough and new their names and they’ve really worked at giving us a reason to care for them (even if it hasn’t always been effective). Both entered this round of Pillar’s Break determined to win and with strong engineers behind them. So the real question came down to whether a controlled and planned tactic could overcome Eimi’s raw talent for destruction.
Right from the opening buzzer, Eimi went on the attack with her usual cavalier attitude that the one who strikes first, wins.
There might be something in that claims, because to be honest, I’m pretty sure if Shiori had attacked faster in the second half of the match she’d have left Eimi without any moves but let’s not rewrite the match.
Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei gave both of these girls screen time as we watched them attack and counter and moved between them, the audience who were reacting to each move and making predictions about who had the upper hand, and even cut to the two engineers behind the players once or twice.
This really helped feel the impact of each attack and the building tension both for the contestants and those who were supporting them. If we took out these comments and commentaries basically we have one girl hurling ice pillars and another blocking attacks and a lot of the excitement of this sequence would have just disappeared.
That the battle ended with both girls collapsing on their podiums more or less said it all. While Eimi emerged the ‘victor’ both had put up a worthy fight and honestly deserve props for a fantastic effort.
On the back of such a strong first half, Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei tried to deliver an equally emotionally second half but just couldn’t do it.
First we had Shizuku choosing to face Miyuki in the final round of Pillar Break even though she could have just taken the three way tie. While I know this sets up a cool face-off between the two, we already know the outcome so the build up here is not doing a great job at making me anticipate the next episode. Then we cut to Honoka’s final in battle board.
Now Honoka has had some great moments in this spin-off series. Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei has really allowed this timid girl to have some shining sequences and honestly she’s had the most character development of any of the cast across the nine episodes. Therefore, this match should have been one that naturally drew us in.
I’m not entirely sure why it didn’t given we had a solid rivalry between the two characters, some solid magical shenanigans on the water, but it all felt a little by the numbers.
Still, I did really enjoy the first half of this episode and the second half works well enough even if it isn’t quite as moving. I’ll look forward to Shizuku’s match against Miyuki because maybe they’ll really manage to show-case the best of those two characters the way they did with Eimi and Shiori this week.
Images from: Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei. Dir. Hideki Tachibana. Connect. 2021
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