The Irregular at Magic High School: Visitor Arc
by Richard Eisenbeis,
How would you rate episode 11 of
The Irregular at Magic High School: Visitor Arc ?
“In which an entire movie happens during the commercial break.”
*Edit: This review originally stated that there was only one more episode of Visitor's Arc left after this one. This is incorrect. There are two remaining. The article has been updated with the correct information.
This episode feels like half-epilogue, half-prologue—which is kind of odd considering we have only two episodes left this season. However, that doesn't stop it from being one of the most solid episodes so far.
In the cold opening, we get to see Lina decompress after the events of last episode. With time to reflect, she realizes how strange she was acting in the last battle—that she was hyper-focused on her mission to the point where it lowered the chances for success and almost added a ton of collateral damage to those she has come to consider friends.
When it all comes down to it, Lina's been told repeatedly that she's the best in the world, and that the fate of her country rests on her shoulders. She's built her whole identity around it. However, meeting Tatsuya and Miyuki (and being bested by both) shows the fallacy of that assumption, which she was unable to accept. Thus, in the final battle, she was desperate to prove that she was the best—so that she wouldn't have to face what it would mean if she wasn't.
Yet, facing the truth head-on actually turns out to be a relief for Lina. Before, she assumed that the weight of the world was on her alone—that she was the one thing keeping the world from chaos. But now, she realizes that there are others who are helping to carry that weight even if she wasn't in the fight. It is a great character moment that not only shows her capacity for self-reflection but also brings her character arc for this season to a close (while also setting up why she'd be so willing to help Miyuki and Tatsuya in the feature film).
The subsequent departure scene is likewise a solid character moment, hinting at both Tatsuya's and Lina's emotional growth while restating the relationship between Miyuki and Lina. Before this season, it's unlikely that Tatsuya would have called out to Lina at the airport (much less reached out to her at the end of the climactic battle last episode). But now, he's grown enough to admit that he does care for others (besides Miyuki) more than he thought possible.
And it doesn't hurt that Lina is almost an amalgamation of Miyuki and himself, though without someone to support her like the siblings have with each other. It makes sense that Tatsuya, a fellow child soldier, would see himself in her. As for Miyuki, she sees in Lina a perfect match for her brother—what Miyuki herself might have been if she wasn't related to Tatsuya. This makes Lina the person Miyuki both wants and would hate to be: a person with the ability to be her brother's partner in all aspects of life (including romantically) but without the special relationship she has as his sister. It, therefore, makes total sense that Miyuki would see Lina as her one true rival.
The second half of the episode feels more like the prologue to the next arc than anything else. While we get to see a few snippets of Tatsuya and Miyuki's first day of the new school year, most of the back half of the episode is focused on an entirely new character, Minami. Her two scenes seem diametrically opposed to one another.
In the first, she is attacked in an empty classroom by a squad of soldiers using conventional weapons (including rocket launchers). By using barrier magic in various ways, she wipes out her attackers. In her second scene, she appears to be a normal maid to the Yotsuba family. Yet, despite being quite shy, she is assigned as a bodyguard to a high-ranking member of the family.
It's an enigmatic introduction to a new character. Is she human? Is she the parasite the Yotsubas captured? Were the Minami in the battle and the Minami in the house different people? We're given no concrete information. But Minami isn't the only mystery in the episode.
Here in the 11th hour, we're introduced to a new group of terrorists—magic supremacists who are planning to attack a party happening in the next episode. Of course, Tatsuya and friends will also be attending this party, as will Minami. Why are Tatsuya and co attending? This too is a mystery but it's probably connected to the message Shizuku brought back from America.
All this is shaping up to give us one last mini-climax at the end of the series within the next two episodes. Here's hoping it turns out to be a good cliffhanger that leaves us wanting more.
• I find it problematic that Tatsuya doesn't seem to care who took the parasites. While we know what happened, for all he knows, the parasites that were sealed by Mikihiko were rescued by some other remaining parasites—meaning that the parasite problem is not over.
• So now there are three kinds of students: Blooms, Engineer Blooms, and Weeds? I'm not sure a three-level caste system is that much better than a two-level caste system.
• While Mikihiko has become a Bloom, Erika and Leo remain as Weeds. Sad.
• The movie The Irregular at Magic High School The Movie: The Girl Who Calls the Stars literally takes place during the commercial break in this episode.
• As a person who has done the flight from Japan to the US many times, it is just a little heartbreaking to think that the moment Lina gets off the plane in the US, she has to get right back on another to fly back the way she came.
• While having a new character clad in mystery is far from a bad thing, I have the sneaking suspicion that, with only two episodes left in the season, any answers we get about Minami are going to be few and far between.
The Irregular at Magic High School: Visitor Arc is currently streaming on Funimation. Save on Anime Streaming Subscriptions with Funimation
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