Alright so, here we are. Three episodes in, and it’s now time for me to give my opening thoughts on the anime, Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei. Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei is a spin-off from the anime Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei, which happens to be one of my favourite anime for all those who didn’t already know. So going into the opening episode, I was very cautious and skeptical.
A century has passed since magic—true magic, the stuff of legends—has returned to the world. It is spring, the season of new beginnings, and a new class of students is about to begin their studies at the First National Magic University Affiliated High School, nickname: First High.
A manga spin-off of the immensely popular light novel series Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei (The Irregular at Magic High School), Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei (The Honor Student at Magic High School) follows the events of the original series as seen through the eyes of Miyuki Shiba, Tatsuya’s sister. The life of an honor student comes with a lot of expectations…and unexpected hidden feelings?!
Since Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei is one of my favourite anime, I approached this series with unreasonably high expectations and here’s why. If the premise of this spin-off is to tell and follow the original events of the parent anime, then I didn’t see why I wouldn’t like it. If it was a re-tell but through the eyes of Miyuki and company, then the different perspectives would have been refreshing and would have added a whole new dimension to an anime I already love. This is where my unreasonably high expectations take hold and severely impact how I negatively view Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei.
Almost immediately, there were things about the anime that I disliked. One of them being the totally new art style. While the first season (Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei) was produced by Madhouse and the second produced by 8bit, they managed to keep the ‘same’ art style for the most part. While there were many irregularities in the second season, for the most part, it stayed accurate with the art style already established by Madhouse. I thought the same thing would apply for the spin-off; however, I was so wrong. I’m not sure why they decided to go with an entirely new art style, but I think it is a decision that will ultimately hurt Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei. I would like to believe that many people who chose to watch the spin-off expected that the art style would be something that stayed the same; I was one of those people. However, going the route that made everything feel a lot more like a fairytale, and in particular, it felt more like a fantasy. That wasn’t really something I liked.
In addition to the drastically different art style, something else that bored me was how inconsistent everything felt. At times it felt like we were jumping around too much. One minute we’d see Miyuki having a moment with Tatsuya, next we’d have Honoka, Shizuku and Eimi stalking Tatsuya throughout the day. We’d see the same three people fantasize over Tatsuya, painting him as someone everyone wants to get to know. Then to add on top of all that, we have them deciding that they (Honoka, Shizuku and Eimi) will solve the mystery of who is targeting First High students with unregulated magic attacks. Do not forget to sprinkle in Mayumi’s affinity for Tatsuya (not surprising) and events from the original series. Then you add all of that up, and you’ll get what happens in one episode. We get all of that in a twenty-minute episode. So while the intended purpose of the series is to recall the events of Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei through the eyes of Miyuki, it certainly doesn’t feel that way, nor does it feel like this anime serves any purpose than to be a hyper exaggeration of everyone’s perception of Tatsuya, who seems to be highly toned back.
The fact that we see so much emotion from ‘god-suya’ is astonishing. We see more displayed emotion from his character in this series than both seasons of Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei combined, which so happens to be something I do not like. The contrasting personalities between himself and Miyuki were something I really enjoyed. You got to different ways of thinking and acting. You had one with no emotion and the other with a standard range of emotions. However, they both feel the same; they seem to be gushing over each other a lot more, which is probably the most weirdly uncomfortable thing about this anime.
Overall, my first impressions of the anime have been subpar. However, it was expected. I knew it probably wouldn’t be an anime that I would genuinely enjoy, given the significance its parent anime has on me. However, something I didn’t expect was it feel so different. You have the same characters, voice actors, story and setting. However, they do not feel like the same characters. It doesn’t feel like we’re following the same story, nor does it feel like we’re in the right setting. All of this is a massive shame.