The Irregular at Magic High School: Visitor Arc
by Richard Eisenbeis,
How would you rate episode 13 of
The Irregular at Magic High School: Visitor Arc ?
“In which our hero hits his limit.”
It's funny but this, the final episode, is pretty much a perfect microcosm of this season.
It's got action: With the terrorist threatening to bring down the building, it's up to Tatsuya, Miyuki, and Minami to go Die Hard on their asses.
It's got an unexpected twist: An earthquake hits the skyscraper when the earthquake stabilizers are offline (and the backup stabilizers—i.e., magicians—are unconscious).
It's got technobabble: The whole thing about how the terrorists hypnotized someone then telepathically had them blow up the support pillars when Tatsuya attacked the terrorists is some of the most confusing (and pointlessly complicated) technobabble the series has to offer.
It's got a solid character growth moment for Tatsuya: Fearing that even his magic will be unable to save the day, Tatsuya knows the smart thing to do is save Miyuki and let the building fall. However, his evolving relationship with her gives him the inner strength to stand his ground and do the impossible.
It's got Tatsuya being overpowered: No one could stop this several hundred story building from collapsing… well, except for Tatsuya and his ability to fix anything instantly.
It's got side characters being amazed at just how cool Tatsuya is: Minami gets to see him up close for the first time—which makes her wonder if his existence is a taboo against god. And of course Shizuku and Honoka get to be impressed as well.
It's got thinly-vailed incest bait: I mean, how could we not have Tatsuya and Miyuki embrace like lovers as he casts his ultimate spell to save the day. (And then have her give him a lap pillow once he's done)
Honestly, this episode could be a litmus test for the series as a whole. Just show this episode to someone who's never seen it and if they want more by the time the credits roll, you know they'll probably like the show overall. If not, you know not to waste their time.
Beyond that, there's not too much to say about this episode. As the final one of the season, it's not really interested in developing characters or exploring themes—nor should it be. Rather, the focus is on resolving the immediate plot. The episode functions to end everything on a simple heroic note—and it succeeds in doing this by paring down the characters we follow. While we could have no doubt had some forced situation where every member of the supporting cast is on hand to help in some way, keeping us laser-focused on only three characters keeps everything easy to follow throughout.
Is it a blow-your-socks-off climax? No, that was the final battle against the parasites three episodes back. But it is nonetheless a solid episode of the series—which I suppose is pretty high praise given that this final mini-arc has been an anime-only story not present in the original novels. And best of all, the episode's ending smartly ties back into the main story with a tease at things to come, introducing three new students that will be joining the school should the series ever get a third season. But even if it doesn't, at least we'll have The Honor Student at Magic High School side story anime this coming year.
• From a writing perspective, it was odd that the flight magic cards Tatsuya gave Shizuku and Honoka were never used in this episode. They're a Chekov's Gun that was never fired.
• I wonder, is repairing a skyscraper all that more complicated than repairing a human body? I mean, sure, it's bigger but living organic matter seems endlessly more complex.
• That said, I am always happy to see the limits of powerful characters like we did in this episode. It makes them seem more human.
• It's always great to see someone try magic jamming on Tatsuya and have him just ignore it and shoot them in the face.
• I'm not sure the terrorists were clear on their own goals at the end with their dead man's switch hypnosis thing. Sending the message “This building was enslaving 35 magicians so we blew up the building, killing all those magicians (and a bunch of civilians)” isn't going to garner support for your cause. It is, however, going to alienate both people with and without magic.
• I wonder, do these terrorists actually show up in the novels? I'm interested to know if they are one-off bad guys or not.
• Maya's cryptic conversation near the end of the episode makes me think that she manipulated the terrorist into attacking the skyscraper just to forge a bond between Minami and the Shiba siblings before they started living together—well, and to capture a few members of the organization for her own purposes.
The Irregular at Magic High School: Visitor Arc is currently streaming on Funimation.
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