The Irregular at Magic High School or Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei was an anime I quite enjoyed however rather than getting a straight sequel we instead had quite a long gap before finally the Visitor Arc appeared finally continuing the story. Then we got the spin-off, Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei which just didn’t quite hit the spot. Now we have the Reminiscence Arc which is essentially a prequel framed through a reminiscence the current Miyuki is having. And it is only a one hour special so it isn’t exactly going for a deep dive but there is the promise of more Irregular to come so maybe I’ll just have to be patient.
I’m so good at that.
Reminiscence Arc examines the trip Miyuki and Tatsuya took together to Okinawa and the incident that occurred there.
Basically, Reminiscence Arc wants to explain how Miyuki ended up being completely obsessed with her older brother Tatsuya, give a small amount of insight into the family behind the scenes, and give us a little more back story on how Tatsuya became the fairly emotionless, overpowered main character he becomes and just why he seems to care so much about Miyuki’s safety.
As a gap filler it is perfectly serviceable and if you were going through a check list of wanting answers you could tick most of them off by the end. However you could just as easily put the information out in a wiki so that real question is whether or not they’ve woven an entertaining enough story around which this information is evealed.
On that point mileage may vary.
While Reminiscence Arc sets the scene well demonstrating tensions between Miyuki and Tatsuya as well as the very strained family dynamic that they exist within there’s a lot of plot convenience going on here. Miyuki’s internal thoughts are very much for the benefit of the audience more than her given so much of what seems to cross her mind for the first time is something she really shouldn’t just be thinking for the first time having lived with this situation for seven years.
More than that, her conveniently walking into the beach thugs, who naturally then go straight to picking a stereotypical fight, and those same thugs ending up being employed at the military base they visit later but there’s seemingly no problem that a soldier picked a fight with a child on the beach… It’s all a bit artificial and exists only to allow the story to happen pushing the characters toward the final conflict where Miyuki and their mother are placed in danger and Tatsuya has to go and destroy the enemy while Miyuki gets a history lesson from mother dearest.
On that note, can we put their mother down in the list of worst anime parents ever. I mean, it was kind of obvious from the previous narrative arcs that the family were pretty awful but finding out just how cold their family really have been to Tatsuya and how they’ve shaped him into being who he is was pretty horrific. That Tatsuya even saved her life after the attack at the base is kind of amazing given everything (then again, he isn’t holding grudges because that would require him to have emotions toward her).
The final conflict in Reminiscence Arc is similar to previous ones where Tatsuya has finally gotten serious, although he is clearly younger and less experienced here. Still, if you like watching Tatsuya clean up the rubbish then Reminiscence Arc has you covered.
The framing with Tatsuya and Miyuki in the present day returning to Okinawa works well enough but really isn’t actually necessary as it adds little to the reminiscence itself. It won’t even really help people who haven’t seen the rest of the story catch up as there just isn’t enough information and those who have seen the rest of the story don’t need it.
Still, I enjoyed this. I kind of wish we could just get another series of Irregular but as a stand alone encounter Reminiscence Arc hits the right notes and the character information was appreciated.
Images from: Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei: Reminiscence Arc. Dir R Yoshida. 8Bit Studio. 2021
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