The Honor Student at Magic High School
Episode 4

by Richard Eisenbeis,

How would you rate episode 4 of
The Honor Student at Magic High School ?

“In which Miyuki learns the hassle of trying to get out of a Kimono.”

After two episodes of heavy focus on the extended cast of the series, this one comes back to centering on Miyuki, giving us a different look at the relationship between her and her brother. When seen through Tatsuya's eyes in the original series, the events of this episode seem perfectly logical: He's carefully investigating a terrorist organization that may have infiltrated their school and is even being courted to join their ranks. However, when seen through Miyuki's eyes, we see the inherent problems in the way he treats her overall.

At this point in the timeline, everything Tatsuya does is for Miyuki's sake. The reason they are at the school in the first place is because he wants to make her happy by letting her have a taste of a “normal” life. However, it's important to note that while his actions are born from his love for his sister, making her happy isn't always his primary goal. When push comes to shove, he will always unilaterally choose her safety over her happiness.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. After all, in a very real way Tatsuya is playing the role of Miyuki's parent as much as he is her brother—especially as everyone in the Yotsuba family seems to see Miyuki not as a child with her own hopes and dreams, but as nothing more than the next heir to the family that will lead them to further greatness. The problem is that what Tatsuya decides will “keep her safe” often harms her mentally if not physically.

Miyuki has no one in the world to rely on but her brother. She notices when he chooses to exclude her from major decisions, and she feels inadequate as a result. She doesn't want to be protected. She wants to be an equal partner to her brother, someone he can rely on as much as she relies on him.

Even in this episode, Tatsuya has yet to really grasp this. When Miyuki confronts him, he is sorry not because he excluded her from the decision-making process, but because withholding information from her caused her more mental stress than telling her would otherwise have.

All this ties in brilliantly with the second half of the episode. Tatsuya is not the only one to believe that keeping information from Miyuki is the best way to keep her from getting hurt. Eimi, Honoka, and Shizuku have done the exact same thing by keeping her out of the loop in their investigation into figuring out who attacked her brother.

However, Miyuki, now armed with the knowledge of the overall threat they face, realizes her friends are in much greater danger than they think and goes to help them. It's here that the three girls see the truth that Tatsuya cannot: Miyuki does not need to be protected—well at least not from two-bit terrorists anyway. She is so powerful that even the magic jammers that incapacitated Eimi, Honoka, and Shizuku couldn't do anything to her in the face of her raw power. The three girls even apologize for their misplaced action that put them all in danger, seemingly implying they won't leave Miyuki out of the loop again.

So with this, Miyuki has solidified her first real friendships, which look to be healthier than the relationship she has with her brother. They see her not as a damsel to be protected but as the powerhouse she truly is. Of course, this shift in viewpoint may prove to be a far greater threat than any terrorist or potential mental harm, as it lets Shizuku realize the truth that the siblings are so desperate to hide: that they are members of one of the ten families.


Random Thoughts:

• It's fun to see that Eimi's go-to non-lethal attack is a giant sledgehammer made of tornadoes.

• I think this is the first time we have seen this particular mental attack from Miyuki (Lunar Strike, I believe) that seems to incapacitate her enemies through sheer terror.

• I didn't realize that jammers wouldn't work on a sufficiently powerful magic user. I wonder if Lina is likewise resistant.

• I like seeing that Miyuki is perfectly capable of cleaning up messes she wouldn't want the cops to be involved in—she is in the running to be the next head of Japan's most powerful magical family after all.

• It's kinda crazy how Shizuku knows that Miyuki is, if not a Yotsuba, then at least a member of one of the four families this early in the series.

The Honor Student at Magic High School is currently streaming on Funimation.

Richard is an anime and video game journalist with over a decade of experience living and working in Japan. For more of his writings, check out his Twitter and blog.

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