The Irregular at Magic High School: Summer Vacation Arc +1

By Tsutomu Sato and Kana Ishida. Released in Japan as “Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei” by ASCII Mediaworks. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Andrew Prowse.

Yes, just like Maou-sama and DanMachi in April, it’s now Mahouka’s time to have a short story collection. As such, the stories in this volume are highly variable. That said, there are two that manage to be relevant to the ongoing story, so I’ll deal with them separately. As for the rest, we get a story with the grumpy guy who hates Tatsuya, Morisaki, who rescues a young woman from being abducted and then has to be her bodyguard; Eimi, who we met in the Competition stories, having a nasty amusement park encounter with thugs trying to steal her family spells; Ichijou and Kichijouji trying to recover after their loss last time, and making annoying lolicon jokes simply as Ichijou’s younger sister likes George; and a jaw-droppingly syrupy date between Tatsuya and Miyuki that seems to do nothing but take the incestuous subtext this series is filled with and rub it in your face. These stories are all readable but not great.

The first story in the collection, which is a beach episode, also starts off pretty fanservicey and pointless, and seems to be about Honoka trying to attract Tatsuya’s attention by almost drowning herself, which backfires in a typical anime “you saw my swimsuit fall off” way. The surprise, and actual plot relevance, comes towards the end. First of all, Shizuku, who’s mostly been in Miyuki’s corner, decides to ask Miyuki the rude question: does she like her brother in a romantic way? The answer is not really satisfying to me, but very much in character for Miyuki, so that’s acceptable. Better is Honoka actually working up her courage and confessing, and Tatsuya’s honest answer: he’s incapable of emotions like that. Of course, this is not stopping her from carrying on liking him till she finds someone better, as Tatsuya says he’d feel the same way about anyone else. I honestly wasn’t expecting one of the main pairings of this series to be shot down this fast, and it’s somewhat refreshing.

The longest story here is the last one, which deals with the fact that Mayumi is retiring, and would like to pass on the Student Council President position to someone she trusts. Hattori is the first that comes to mind, but he doesn’t want to do it. This leaves Azusa, but she’s simply too terrified to do it, having always been the meek one in the group. This is eventually resolved by one of the most blatant yet hilarious scenes in the book, which I will try not to spoil. More importantly, the successor is also carrying on Mayumi’s will by seeking to eliminate the prejudice against Course 2 students by allowing them to hold Student Council Positions. It’s a good reminder of the prejudice that still exists in many ways, which we haven’t really focused on since the first book. It also shows us that Miyuki’s immaturity is still hanging around, and that she can be TERRIFYING when lashing out – there’s a reason she wasn’t chosen to succeed as President. Yet.

The Irregular at Magic High School has likely locked in its audience already. If you enjoy the series, you’re going to pick up and enjoy this. If you’re one of those who despise Tatsuya, this is not going to change your mind (I didn’t even get into the politics occasionally on display here). Recommended to the former group – this isn’t an easy series to hate read, so the latter should move on.

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