Even the most incredible magic trick has a logical explanation behind it. That’s why we call them tricks. At least that is increasingly true today thanks to scientific advancements. But there was a time that almost everyone believed in the occult nature of magic; many still do. After all, our perception of the present clouds the possibilities of the future. It just so happens that the world of Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei (The Honor Student at Magic High School) is one almost a century ahead of ours where magic has been systematized into a science and where one’s magical potential is determined by their control over psions.
‘‘The world of Magic High School is, on a surface level, another high school drama anime.’’
The first two seasons titled The Irregular at Magic Highschool follow Shiba Tatsuya, a newly enrolled student at First High school, one of nine magic high schools in Japan. Tatsuya is a seemingly weak magician on the surface, especially compared to his prodigy sister Miyuki. His sister is very fond of him to a point of infatuation transcending siblinghood.
At First High school, there is a delineation between students with strong magical potential, called Blooms, and those with weak magical potential, called Weeds. Naturally, Miyuki is placed as the top Bloom while her brother is relegated to be a Weed. Yet, it quickly becomes apparent that Tatsuya is far from weak, rather it is just that his magic specialization is, well, irregular. Clearly, the siblings’ powers serve a higher purpose than mere high school competitions. The world of Magic High School may appear, at the surface level, as another high school drama anime. But as the show progresses, there is clearly more than meets the eye.
‘‘Unlike the previous two seasons, instead of following the story from Tatsuya’s perspective, the story of this season is viewed from Miyuki’s perspective.’’
The series is entering its first spin-off season with The Honour Student at Magic Highschool. Indeed, it is not a sequel to the events of The Irregular at Magic Highschool Season 2. Instead of viewing the story from Tatsuya’s perspective like in the previous two seasons, this season’s story is viewed from Miyuki’s.
While Tatsuya had to overcome the prejudice of other students, Miyuki started at the top of the food chain. Furthermore, Tatsuya is a mostly stoic man who rarely displays much emotion. Meanwhile Miyuki is a normal high school girl with a brother complex. Overall, this change of perspective will be interesting to say the least.
‘‘The biggest upside of Mahou Koukou is definitely worldbuilding, followed closely by characterization.’’
The biggest upside of Mahou Koukou is definitely worldbuilding, followed closely by characterization. A lot of anime has magic, science, high school or even incest as central themes. But this one has all those over a backdrop of more serious motifs such as discrimination, war, politics and weapons of mass destruction.
This is also complemented by a fairly numerous cast of side characters. Each one has a key role to play in assisting Tatsuya and Miyuki with their troubles. Besides some generic goons and villains, the characters who serve a purpose in an arc are given proper screen time. The show does a good job of making the audience care about what the protagonists on-screen do and what happens to them, even if they are the most minor of side characters.
All in all, the Magic High School franchise is quite a tumultuous anime. Whether it’s girls ovulating at the mere sight of Tatsuya, who keeps multiplying his godly achievements, or Miyuki’s highly incestuous attraction to her brother, the show does have much of the horny high school drama elements one would expect in a show involving adolescents. On the other hand, the masterful storytelling in every arc builds up into a dramatic climax where the whole high school premise is dropped entirely.
You can watch the trailer for Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei (The Honor Student at Magic High School) here.