The Irregular at Magic High School: Visitor Arc
by Richard Eisenbeis,
How would you rate episode 12 of
The Irregular at Magic High School: Visitor Arc ?
“In which we see what our hero and heroine could have been.”
Despite the inclusion of a terrorist plot, the purpose of this episode is to develop Ayako and Fumiya by showcasing the relationship between the two.
Fumiya, while trying to act the part of someone cool and calculating, is anything but. His sister clearly enjoys breaking his mature façade to expose the immature kid underneath, but there's more to it than simply good-natured sibling teasing.
Fumiya has the soul of a hero: the need to do the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do—regardless of any danger to himself. He regards stopping bad guys and saving the innocent as his duty—despite their actual job being intelligence gathering.
Ayako, on the other hand, comes off as goal-oriented and a bit heartless—though, again, that's far from the truth. Ayako very much agrees with her brother's sense of justice and wants to support it. However, she recognizes that barreling into a situation on impulse—no matter how noble the intention—can cause as many problems as it solves. Her pointing out the actual mission objectives and callously breaking down the best possible outcome for the family (i.e., regardless of collateral damage) is not her advocating for such a strategy. Rather, she does this so that they can choose the path that accomplishes their mission while also allowing for the maximum amount of good to be done.
She is trying to teach her brother to see all sides before rushing in. She doesn't want to hinder him or make him “grow up” and forget his childish ideals; she wants him to follow his strong moral compass in a way that allows them to continue doing the right thing from within a family that is self-serving at best, downright evil at worst.
The pair gets even more interesting when compared to Tatsuya and Miyuki—i.e., the other Yotsuba clan siblings we're following. Rather than Tatsuya protecting Miyuki (and often leaving her behind somewhere safe), Ayako and Fumiya actually act as a team on their missions—going into battle together and fully supporting each other.
Moreover, despite all the good he has done, Tatsuya is still ultimately most concerned with Miyuki—she is his number one priority. His growth this season notwithstanding, the main reason he acts as he does in any given situation is either to protect her or because doing so makes her happy—not because of any inherent need to use his powers to do the right thing.
Of course, to those not privy to his inner psyche, Tatsuya appears to be a righteous superhero—protecting his friends, fighting terrorists, and saving Japan from invasion—and this is what Fumiya sees when looking at him. It's no wonder that Fumiya tries to act calm and collected in his heroic attempts: He's emulating Tatsuya—or rather his idealized version of Tatsuya that only exists within his head.
Fumiya is a mirror to Tatsuya. He is what Tatsuya could have been without his stunted emotions and inflamed attachment to Miyuki—a true hero. Likewise, the relationship Fumiya has with Ayako is what Tatsuya and Miyuki's could have been like without the Yotsuba family's tampering. It's some great character writing—not just for Ayako and Fumiya but Tatsuya and Miyuki by proxy as well.
• The rest of the episode sets up one last action climax for the finale. Terrorists appear and threaten to blow up a skyscraper—namely the one Tatsuya and Miyuki are in.
• I love how Tatsuya gives a running commentary on the terrorists' stated motivations, debunking them on the fly to let us know why we shouldn't feel sorry for them when he kicks their asses next episode.
• The idea of using dozens of magic users as your skyscraper's backup generator seems like a stupidly expensive way of going about things. You're basically paying a ton of people a living wage (probably a lot more as magicians are so rare and in-demand) to sit on their butts all day every day just in case the building loses power.
• So these terrorists are protesting the cushiest jobs a magician could possibly have in a world where most are used as soldiers either in a national military or private army?
• I mean, come on man. If the tower falls on them, I think the people in a 34 floor-deep underground bunker with literal magic under their control are going to be just fine.
• Now, I buy that Tatsuya is constantly using his magic vision all the time—especially as he and Miyuki are both in public and in an unfamiliar location. I can also see how he could recognize Ayako's signature magic from such a distance as they have clearly met before and are on friendly terms. What I can't accept is Tatsuya somehow knowing not only that the people Ayako and Fumiya captured are terrorists, but also which specific terrorist group they belong to—despite them being miles away and in disguise.
• I love that we get to see Ayako's Mock Teleportation from a first-person perspective. It shows us that, while it looks like teleportation to the untrained eye, it is actually closer to moving at super speed. Transporting the bodies to the boat also clues us in to the magic's main weakness: she needs line-of-sight to the destination to use it.
• I bet Leo would just love Fumiya's brass knuckles CAD.
• So Minami is the niece of someone Miyuki (and Tatsuya) used to know. I assume they look alike based on Miyuki's reaction but it's odd that Tatsuya doesn't react at all—especially given that Minami looks an awful lot like the person in Tatsuya's childhood flashback from the movie.
• A commenter in last week's review pointed out to me that we're currently in an anime original mini-arc that isn't part of the novels. With the excellent character building so far, I'm pretty impressed.
The Irregular at Magic High School: Visitor Arc is currently streaming on Funimation. Save on Anime Streaming Subscriptions with Funimation.
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