The Irregular at Magic High School: Visitor Arc, Part II

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.

This is very much a book of two halves, and I must admit that I preferred the first half to the second, though they both had issues. The first half is a continuation of the plot from the first book in this arc, as Tatsuya and Lina separately and together try to figure out what’s “possessing” these people and how to stop them, but are almost undone by a traitor in Lina’s midst. The traitor is… a character we met once before in the last book, but I must admit “minor character X’ does not really make it very dramatic – I was expecting it to be Lina’s aide Sylvia, which would have been more tragic. There’s also a pretty nice fight with said minor character traitor at the climax of the first half of the book, which actually gives Mizuki something to do. And we get a great way to present boring exposition and still make me laugh – Shizuku calls from California to give intel to Tatsuya, but she’s shitfaced drunk when she does so, and he’s trying to explain things to her as she slurs her words more and more. It’s pretty funny.

I was less impressed with the second half of the book, as it’s Valentine’s Day at the school, and you know what that means: wacky hijinks. I’ve talked before about how I’m not fond of Honoka being defined just by her love of Tatsuya, and I realize that the author is trying to let her and Shizuku get developed by the Honor Student manga author in that regard, but man, here her love for Tatsuya is literally weaponized by the runaway parasite, who possessed a robot named Pixie that’s part of the school’s robotics experiment. As you can imagine, instead of being driven by self-preservation and killing witnesses like the other possessed folks, she’s driven by the intense and disturbingly submissive love for Honoka that Honoka accidentally activated her with. That said, most of the valentine stuff was merely okay, and not actually irritating. And Mayumi’s revenge chocolates made me smile.

The irritating, as so frequently happens in this series, was saved for our two leads. I realize that Miyuki gets jealous sometimes, but what she did with Tatsuya’s chocolates was so petty and immature my jaw dropped. This is not helped by Tatsuya basically saying “welp” and just going along with it. (Tatsuya is not at his most likeable throughout the book – there’s a sequence where he lets Miyuki answer a difficult conundrum they have as he wants her to be “more than a pretty doll” that made me want to punch him.) And, of course, Miyuki is also dealing with her incestuous feelings for her brother, which are sometimes used as the usual gag (Lina’s reaction to Miyuki saying she and Tatsuya are just siblings) but in Miyuki’s inner thoughts are very much taken seriously. She feels guilty about these feelings, but honestly the whole thing makes me feel deeply uncomfortable.

When you add in some “Japan is good, everyone else is less good” speeches, and Lina getting chewed out for daring to fall in love with Tatsuya (a fact that she denies, but no one believes her, least of all the reader), and you have a typically easy to read but frustrating volume of Mahouka. Next volume should wrap up this arc, at least.

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